Saturday, June 22, 2013

Zoo Negara to get a world-class facelift

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel (centre) visiting the construction site of the giant panda enclosure at Zoo Negara yesterday

ZOO Negara will be getting a facelift soon to be on a par with other world-class zoos.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said many of the current facilities were unsuitable and needed to be upgraded to attract more visitors.

"The ministry has discussed this with the prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) and he has agreed to the upgrading and improvement of the entire environment at the zoo. A budget is being prepared to be tabled at the cabinet meeting."

He said the facelift would also allow the zoo to start operating at night, like the Singapore and Taiping zoos.

"We will prepare a conducive environment to allow the zoo to operate at night.

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"This will bring in more tourists to the national zoo," he said after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Wildlife and National Park Department and the Malaysian Zoological Society on the Giant Panda Protection and Research programme yesterday.

The MoU outlined the two departments' roles in protecting and conducting research on the two giant pandas that are scheduled to be brought to Malaysia by year-end.

It also spelt out Zoo Negara's role to ensure the welfare and safety of the pandas, which would be on loan to Malaysia for 10 years.

The male panda, named Fu Wa, and the female panda, named Feng Yi, will be brought in upon completion of a modern air-conditioned enclosure in December.

"The building of the enclosure began in April and is scheduled to be completed in November. We expect to bring the giant pandas from China to Malaysia in December or January," Palanivel said.

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