Zoo Negara running out of money

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KUALA LUMPUR: Zoo Negara is facing a financial crisis because of the loss of income caused by the third wave of Covid-19.

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Its Zoology, Hospital & Veterinary Services & Giant Panda Conservation Centre director, Dr Mat Naim Ramli, said they only have enough emergency funds to last three months.

He said the zoo’s closure since the conditional movement control order (CMCO) was imposed made it difficult to meet operating costs, which total almost RM1 million per month.

He said that wages cost RM400,000, food RM350,000 and utilities RM180,000.

According to Mat Naim, revenue had increased during the recovery MCO period.

“Zoo Negara made RM450,000 in June, RM1 million in July, RM1.3 million in August and RM850,000 in September, but only RM150,000 in October,” he told Bernama.

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Recently, Islamic preacher, Ebit Lew, answered the call for aid and donated 200kg of meat and 500kg of fruits and vegetables to feed Zoo Negara’s animals.

Mat Naim said that in the early stage of the MCO, Zoo Negara (under the Malaysian Zoological Society) was able to pay for the upkeep of 5,137 animals through the Adopt an Animal programme.

He said that the RM1.3 million given by the government in April was only able to cover operating expenses for a month, with RM689,000 used to pay for panda insurance and the rest going to animal food and medical costs.

He added that the government helped many zoos during the first wave of the pandemic, “but we have not received any assistance since the CMCO started on Oct 14.

“Maybe the government is still finding the best way to help zoos manage their high operating costs.”

Mat Naim said donations are welcomed and appreciated. For more information, visit www.zoonegaramalaysia.my/adopt.html. -FMT

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