Prey to visitor shortage, Saigon zoo seeks $1.3 mln financial support

By Dinh Chuong   September 26, 2021 | 08:00 am GMT+7
Prey to visitor shortage, Saigon zoo seeks $1.3 mln financial support
A giraffe is fed at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden in HCMC's District 1, September 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Tuan Viet
Without visitors amid strict lockdowns, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden in HCMC has sought VND30 billion ($1.3 million) assistance from city authorities to remain operational.

Pham Van Tan, director of Saigon Zoo-Botanical Garden Company Ltd, said the zoo, a popular tourist destination, has been shut since May as a Covid containment measure though the company has still spent VND3-4 billion each month to care for its plants and animals.

The company estimated it would need over VND45 billion to cover costs through the remainder of 2021; therefore, it decided to seek financial support from city authorities to help it maintain operations.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the zoo has undertaken austerity measures to reduce operating costs but the visitor shortage has left it in a dire financial situation.

Tan said due to the wide economic fallout caused by the fourth coronavirus wave, the company has not sought help from the public apart from the official request to the city.

However, many Saigonese have shared the zoo's bank account number on social media to call on the public to help it overcome its financial difficulties.

In April last year, the zoo was forced to shut its doors for several months amid the worsening pandemic. The extended closure resulted in a reported loss of VND6.8 billion for 2020.

Built in 1864, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens is one of the oldest zoos in the world. It is self-financed, with all funding drawn from ticket sales.

The zoo is also home to over 1,300 animals, including rare species and 2,500 trees.

Before the pandemic, the zoo was a popular tourist destination in the city, drawing thousands of visitors on weekends and holidays.

 
 
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