Finally, Manila Zoo gets the rehabilitation it needs desperately.

On July 25, Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso led the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new Manila Zoo to revive and redevelop government-run animal theme park, which is home to Mali the elephant, the zoo’s 47-year-old attraction. 

The rehabilitation of the oldest zoo in Asia will cost P1.7 billion and the project will cover 51,000 sq.m.of the recreation facility.

The zoo was closed to the public in early 2019 after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) found it to be a major pollutant of Manila Bay.

The redevelopment plan will address this problem by having a sewage treatment plant, a materials recovery facility and a new veterinary hospital.

The project also includes the construction of new habitats for the different animals, gardens, public toilets, a museum, a restaurant, and a new parking area.

Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Manila City Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna feeding Mali, the 47-year-old elephant at Manila Zoo (photo taken from ZooKeeper FB page).

Apart from habitat enclosures for the different animals, the project will feature a botanical garden and amphitheater. A construction of a very modern reception lobby is also part of the plan. 

The design of the project was done by the city in collaboration with Jose T. Manosa and Associates and Nathan Savage Lighting Design.

According to Mayor Domagoso, upon the completion of the project, the zoo will be “similar and competitive to Singapore Zoo.”

“You are going to witness this, we are going to build in the near future the best zoo in Asia,” Domagoso said during his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“I am happy that we are not only going to build a zoo, a clean zoo, but a healthier zoo for our animals. I want the best for you, mga Batang Maynila,” he said.

Currently, at Manila Zoo’s care, apart from Mali, are a couple of lions, tigers, crocodiles, monkeys, turtles, snakes, and flightless birds, among others. 

The rehabilitation project began on the 61st founding anniversary of the Manila Zoo. The Manila Department of Engineering and Public Works said the target duration for the completion of the zoo’s rehabilitation is 19 months.

Below are some of the project’s features: