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Visitors watching an animal show at Zoo Negara in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. PIC BY HAFIZ SOHAIMI

KUALA LUMPUR: Potential sponsors have reached out to the Zoo Negara administration to see what can be done to keep it afloat.

Zoo Negara deputy president Rosly @ Rahmat Ahmat Lana said some parties had expressed interest in sponsoring the zoo.

However, Rosly said, he was not at liberty to reveal more as details were under discussion.

“A few organisations have called us and expressed interest in sponsoring certain enclosures, but details are in the early stages,” he told the New Straits Times.

This follows an NST article recently highlighting the plight of the zoo, which was in dire need of financial support.

Zoo Negara used to receive five-year federal grants of RM5 million from the government, but this ended in 2004.

It has since survived on one-off federal aid for maintenance and upkeep.

The zoo needs 500,000 visitors annually to break even from ticket sales, but this target is rarely reached. Earnings from ticket sales are spent on maintenance and upkeep, leaving no room for expansion of any sort.

Since NST’s article on the zoo’s plight was published, the number of visitors has increased.

“Since Sunday and Monday, as it was a public holiday, there has been a significant increase in the number of visitors to the zoo.

“This is positive because during the fasting month, the number of visitors is usually much lower,” said Rosly, adding that many visitors might have visited the zoo after reading NST’s article.

Responding to comments on social media that the entrance fee of RM45 for adults and RM18 for children was too high, he said the zoo had not received any negative feedback from visitors.

He said the entrance fee offered visitors a chance to visit the panda enclosure, watch animal shows and go to the aquarium.

He said the fee also covered enclosure and animal maintenance and rehabilitation, as well as the salaries for the staff.

On the three Malayan tiger cubs that were born on May 1, Rosly said they were healthy and were being fed by their mother, Kayla.

The birth of the cubs had given hope to conservationists for the critically-endangered species. It is said that there are less than 200 Malayan tigers left in the wild.

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