ANIMALS at the Cebu City Zoo in Barangay Kalunasan should be released to the wild or transferred to a better facility.
These were among the recommendations made by officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regulatory Division after conducting a joint inspection and inventory with City Hall officials at the zoo Monday afternoon.
DA-Central Visayas Animal Welfare Officer Dr. Raul Migriño said the situation of the animals at the zoo does not conform with the animal welfare law.
“There are some birds that should not be chained or placed inside small cages. They should be in enclosures so they can display normal behavior. If we talk about animal welfare, the zoo will have a failing score,” he said in Cebuano.
With most of the animals inside small cages, Migriño said he is not sure how the animals are being fed or how they eat.
“Luoy gyud sila (They’re in a pitiable state). Akong (My) recommendation, dapat e-adto sila sa (they should be transferred to a) better facility,” he said.
Rainier Manlegro, zoology technician of the DENR’s Conservation and Development Division, on Monday said that all endemic and indigenous animals at the zoo should be turned over to them so they can be released back to the wild.
These include the banog (hawks), serpent eagles, monitor lizards, saltwater crocodiles, freshwater crocodiles and box turtles, among others.
Based on their inspection, he said, the animals are still “healthy.”
As to the domestic animals there, Department of Veterinary and Medicine Fisheries Chief Dr. Alice Utlang said they will be released on the first week of October.
She has asked the City Agriculture’s Office to give the chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, goats, dogs and rabbits to farmers in the city for breeding purposes.
On loan to Amlan
As to the other animals that will be left, except for the birds, Utlang said they will also be turned over to the DENR since there are no documents to prove they are owned by the City Government.
The three Burmese pythons, though, were already taken by former zoo manager Giovanni Romarate, while the three peacocks were taken by the supplier of food in the area.
Manligro said the remaining animals can be transferred to the zoo operated by the Municipality of Amlan in Negros Oriental, which incidentally asked Mayor Tomas Osmeña for the animals.
But Manligro said the animals will be on loan only, which means that they are still owned by the City Government.
Utlang said the Amlan zoo is a well-equipped facility, which has a wildlife farm permit from the DENR.
“There’s a big possibility the animals will end up in Amlan,” she said in Cebuano.
The Cebu City Zoo houses more than 200 animals.
The joint inspection was conducted on Monday after reports surfaced that the animals there are dying.
It is an offshoot to the plan of the mayor to shut down the facility and to include the land in the properties to be exchanged with the Cebu Provincial Government to solve the long-running issue on 93-1 lots.