City’s loss

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION -

An­i­mal lovers in Cebu City may want to mark May 15 on their cal­en­dars as this was the date set by the Cebu City gov­ern­ment to trans­fer all of the more than 70 an­i­mals stay­ing in the Cebu City Zoo to their new home at the Am­lan Dream­land Na­ture and Ad­ven­ture Park in Am­lan town, Ne­gros Ori­en­tal prov­ince.

It won’t cost an arm and a leg for Cebu City res­i­dents to visit this park, but it will cost them and it’s def­i­nitely cheaper to watch and en­joy the com­pany of these an­i­mals in one’s own city.

Since the Cebu City Zoo is part of the land swap deal en­tered into by the Cebu City gov­ern­ment and Cebu prov­ince for the oc­cu­pants of prov­ince-owned lots in the city un­der Pro­vin­cial Or­di­nance 93-1 and the prov­ince has other ideas in de­vel­op­ing the zoo site, the city gov­ern­ment chose to turn over the an­i­mals to those who seek to turn a profit from their show­case, and be spared the trou­ble of car­ing for them.

Which is a cry­ing shame to those who cared enough to want to keep the an­i­mals in Cebu City and maybe pro­pose that the city zoo be re­lo­cated to a sim­i­larly suit­able lo­ca­tion even with the at­ten­dant main­te­nance costs that such a move en­tails and with the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion be­ing not too keen on keep­ing the an­i­mals.

Any­way, Cebu City Mayor To­mas Os­meña is no hard­case when it comes to na­ture and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, as he had agreed to es­tab­lish an aviary sup­pos­edly at the Com­pa­nia Mar­itima build­ing in part­ner­ship with a busi­ness­man.

If any­thing, the mayor was adamant about in­clud­ing the Cebu City Zoo site in the land swap deal with the prov­ince long be­fore he won last year, and he would likely re­tort that it’s more im­por­tant to pri­or­i­tize set­tlers than the an­i­mals, some of which were do­nated to the city.

The mayor would also like to re­mind crit­ics about the al­leged fis­cal mis­man­age­ment of the Cebu City Zoo by peo­ple ap­pointed by his erst­while ally and now ri­val for­mer mayor Michael Rama, and how build­ing a new zoo would be too costly for the city to main­tain.

That and the like­li­hood that the city zoo’s in­come wouldn’t be ad­e­quate to cover main­te­nance and up­keep of the fa­cil­i­ties and an­i­mals led the mayor to de­cide with­out hes­i­ta­tion to close down the zoo per­ma­nently.

Then again, Os­meña could have made ar­range­ments with par­ties in­ter­ested and will­ing to house the an­i­mals here in Cebu City where res­i­dents, es­pe­cially the school­child­ren, can visit, study and en­joy their com­pany.

And there’s also the re­port about plans to build a Sea World of sorts at the South Road Prop­er­ties (SRP) which had drawn flak from staunch en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

Still, one can­not help but be­moan the city’s im­pend­ing loss of the zoo an­i­mals which brought no small amount of joy to city res­i­dents and taught gen­er­a­tions of young Cebu City res­i­dents the im­por­tance of car­ing for and pre­serv­ing na­ture and its crea­tures.

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