Assessment Report on Cebu City Zoo

The City government accepted responsibility for administering the zoo after the death of Father Tropa in 1993.Since this time, the City has paid the wages of the staff and born the telephone, electricity and water costs - in 1998 this will amount to a subsidy of about P 490,000.00.This subsidy is being supplemented by some material and a small labor force to assist the reconstruction of the zoo following the Master Plan which was suggested by Mr. William Oliver of Fauna & Flora International in 1996.

Unfortunately, although the City is assisting the zoo, no provision has been made for the care of the animals which it contains.Feeding and housing of animals remains dependent on the receipts from visitors which are totally inadequate to meet the needs.

The agency which has assumed responsibility for managing the zoo on behalf of the city, Philippine Wetlands & Wildlife Foundation Inc.(PWCF), has no money of itís own and is unable to spend any supplementary money on either feeding the animals or looking after them and lacks resources to change the situation.

In 1997 and 1998 Quantum Conservation, a registered German conservation organization, has been assisting the PWCF to both build new cages and feed the animals. Although there has been a notable improvement in the zoo in the past year, reflected by an increase of 15% in the visitors to the zoo, an investment of different dimensions is required if the zoo is to be placed on a sound financial footing.

The zoo should be able to attract at least 10% of the population of Cebu (i.e. 120,000 visitors) each year.Zoos situated elsewhere record visitor to city population levels of 120% to 300%.Even at only 120,000 visitors the zoo should be able to show an operating profit with a turnover of about P1,250,000.00.

To reach this minimal level of visitors an initial investment of 15 million Pesos is probably necessary to attract and satisfy both adult and child visitors.On present costings, nearly a third of the investment (P4,500,000.00) is required to build a perimeter fence around the zoo to maintain security and protect any further investment.In addition, a large number of attractive cages and enclosures need to be built to house an increased number of animals.Other investment, which may reduce the medium-term burden on the City, from abroad and the local business community, will depend on the willingness of the City to make this initial investment.

Even with this investment, management of the zoo and care of the animals is impossible under the present arrangements.The minimum basic costs of running the zoo must be properly funded and not subject to chance and good luck.An organization, such as the PWCF, needs to sign a MOA with the City which assures adequate funding and defines responsibilities. Funding must be punctual and paid in advance.Management must be professional, full-time and not diverted by other interests.

With adequate funding and the parallel investment, the zoo would rapidly become a focal point of interest for both Cebu inhabitants and overseas visitors.With the appropriate technical advice Cebu Zoo & Conservation Center would rival other top Asian zoos.With a secure perimeter, the zoo would be an attractive proposition for a restaurant concession (such as JolliBee) bringing rental income. The zoo is ideally situated to promote conservation and biodiversity education and additional revenue can be expected from educational lectures and courses, as well as from the Ecotourism potential.

 

Richard Perron

Quantum Conservation e.V.

Cebu City Zoo & Conservation Center

April 22nd 1998