Maasin Zoo formally opens today
TACLOBAN CITY- A baby Philippine Eagle, the country’s national bird is among the main attraction at Maasin City Zoo, the first zoo in Eastern Visayas. Slated for it’s grand opening today at 10:00 A.M., Southern Leyte Governor Damian “Mian” Mercado, Maasin City Mayor Maloney Samaco, lone Southern Leyte Representative Roger Mercado and Southern Leyte Chamber of Commerce President Robert Castañares will lead the guests in the ceremony.
Sharing new home with the Philippine Eagle at the 25-hectare Maasin Zoo are 21 tarsiers; two baboons; three civet cats; 1 head Celebes Black Ape, 2 Camels, one head python and a pair of mini-horses; two adults male and female tigers, 10 adults fresh-water crocodiles and 14 heads Porous Salt Water Crocodiles.
There are several species of birds among them a pair of Silver Pheasant; three Queen Victoria; a pair of Umbrella Cockatoo; a pair of Ecleptus Parrot; a pair of Imperial Pigeons; three Nicloar Pigeons; three black Lorry, and a pair of red-neck Ostrich.
According to Governor Mercado, the zoo is situated within the Maasin City Wildlife and Conservation Camp at Sitio Danao, Malapoc Norte in this city. “We started the reforestration of Danao Park when I was still the Mayor of Maasin. And today we are proud we have this forest we can be proud of and home to the first zoo in the region. This is an exemplary private and public partnership (PPP) in action that will catapult Southern Leyte as the Playground of Eastern Visayas,” Mercado said.
Maasin Zoo is a partnership between the SLCCI and the local government units of Maasin City and Southern Leyte. SLCCI provided the animals for the zoo and spent P6million. The province provided the concreting of the access roads and the city provided the animal cages.
For today’s opening entrance fees are P100 for adult and P50 for child .
The zoo had its soft opening last April 26 which was the culminating activity of the 2-day business conference held at Kuting Reef in Macrohon, Southern Leyte. According to SLCCI President Robert Castañares after the soft opening, they closed the zoo temporarily to allow the animals to acclimatize and to put other facilities in place including nice restrooms for the convenient of the tourists. The animals were sourced out from the same source of animals that provided Subic Zoo and Safari.
“This is the second tourism hub of the Southern Leyte Tourism Plan. The first was the Agas Agas Adventure Park in Sogod. We still have three hubs to develop until 2013. We are targeting the local tourists and this is a good educational tours for the school children. The entrance fees are adult P250; senior citizens P200 and child P150, “ said Castañares.
In January 7, 2002, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources turned over the area to the city with environmentalist Maasin City Mayor Damian G. Mercado, now the governor of the Southern Leyte Province. “We cannot afford more fires because part of it is where the watershed of Bgry. San Jose is situated that supply water all over the city,” Samaco said during the soft opening. “Then Mayor Mercado started the reforestration of the Danao Park and which serves as campsite for national and regional River Moot Scouts in the past,”Samaco said.
The grand opening of the Maasin Zoo is part of the many activities lined-up for the 52nd Southern Leyte Founding Anniversary on July 1. (Vicky C. Arnaiz)
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