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PETALING JAYA, Feb 5 — Zoo Negara is facing yet another financial dilemma due to the impact of the second movement control order (MCO).
Zoo Negara’s deputy president Rosly @ Rahmat Ahmat Lana told Harian Metro that the zoo would not be able to hang on for much longer if the MCO is further extended, as funds continue to dwindle.
“Zoo Negara will face financial difficulties if the MCO is extended for a longer period. I really hope that doesn’t happen,” he said.
“If it is prolonged, we will be forced to beg the government to allow us to operate in some way or look for alternative ways to stay open and continue running.”
Rosly also said that they have enough funds “for now” to ride out the two-week extension of the second MCO, which ends on February 18.
He said that, at the moment, they were still able to cover fees for animal feed and pay their staff thanks to previous donations from the public which have been put into an emergency fund.
Rosly added, however, that the public response in terms of aid has diminished since the implementation of the first MCO last year.
“During the first MCO, we collected a total of RM10 million in donations as many people were scrambling to donate food supplies and funds. And that is what’s helping us get through this second MCO.”
He also said that the “Adopt an Animal” initiative the zoo launched last year is still running, despite the decrease in public support.
The “Adopt an Animal” programme is an online initiative that allows the public to symbolically adopt 30 types of animal species for as low as RM25, in order to help out with its food, upkeep and veterinary care.
“Last year, it was almost like we didn’t have enough staff to keep up with the immense support this campaign received as compared to now.
“Because of that, we are welcoming public donations from any willing donors who are able to assist Zoo Negara’s operations,” Rosly told Sinar Harian.
Rosly added that he was quietly confident that the MCO should end as expected, as the lockdown has economically affected many industries around the country, including the zoo which heavily relies on ticket sales.
On Tuesday, Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the MCO currently enforced around the country, except several areas in Sarawak, would be extended for an additional two-week period until February 18.