The rhinoceroses are a big attractions in taiping Zoo. NSTP/Azhar Ramli

Despite recording an increase in the number of visitors, the Taiping Zoo and Night Safari, the oldest zoo in the nation,lacks the financial resources to embark on its multimillion ringgit expansion and development plan.

Its director,Dr Kevin Lazarus,said the zoo received more than 200,000 visitors until May this year,which is a 13 per cent increase compared with the same period last year.

Dr Lazarus said profit generated from the sale of tickets only enabled the zoo to cover its operational cost of RM5 million, including RM2 million for food supply for the animals annually.

‘The zoo needs at least RM42 million to implement development programmes that would be carried out between a period of five and 10 years.

‘The programmes include upgrading and improving enclosures, increasing the number of species, as well as the building of new facilities at the zoo.

‘We understand that the cost is very high for the zoo to embark on its development plan.

‘That is why we are seeking assistance from the federal government,’he told participants in the Kembara Media Perak 2019 programme recently.

Dr Lazarus said although there were parties which came forward to participate in its animal adoption programme,the zoo’s main income came from the sale of tickets.

The zoo management,he said,updated its master development plan every four to five years so that visitors enjoyed the best experience.

During the peak period, which was the school holidays, he said, the zoo received an overwhelming number of visitors.

‘Although we have ample parking space during normal days, it is usually not enough to cater to demand during the school holidays. To address this problem, the zoo hopes to build a multi-level parking lot with proper landscaping if we receive financial assistance to carry out our development plan,’ he said, adding that the zoo received more than 640,000 visitors last year.

Dr Lazarus said there were 150 species of animals at the zoo, which included Malayan tigers, African lions and black panthers.

Adopting the open concept enclosures, the Taiping Zoo is the only one with night safari experience in Peninsular Malaysia and third in the region after Singapore and Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Entrance fee is RM16 for adults and RM8 for children aged between 3 and 12, as well as senior citizens who are 60 years and above.

For the night safari, which is from 8pm until 11pm on normal days and from 8pm until midnight during public holidays,the entrance fee is RM20 for adults.

A fee of RM10 is chargeable for children (aged between 3 and 12) and senior citizens.