Nowadays, there’s a national day for just about anything. Just at the beginning of August people rushed to social media to celebrate National Girlfriend Day. Now, it’s no surprise that throughout August Malaysia focuses on celebrating one special event which is obviously Malaysia’s National Day, Merdeka. But did you know that there is another national day celebrated on the last day of August? Although not widely known or celebrated, National Zoo Awareness Day falls on the 31st of August as well.
The tradition of zoo keeping dates all the way back to Egyptian pharaohs’ animal collections and has now evolved into an ethical conservation practice to help protect endangered species. Here in Malaysia, the zoos have developed into a zoological parks and aquaria dedicated to the conservation, recreation, education, and research of various animal and plant species. All in an effort to help save the animals and plants native to us.
This year, Zoo Negara celebrates its 60th anniversary since being officially opened on 14th November 1963. Although there have yet to be any celebrations in conjunction with national zoo awareness day, people should show support for the national zoo, who are helping to bring back Malaysia’s wildlife. Therefore,Echo Media wants to provide you with some fun anecdotes about the beloved national zoo.
If you have been scrolling through Twitter, now X or Tiktok, you may have seen viral videos of the latest addition to the capybara enclosure,which now features an unlikely guest, Oyen the tabby cat. The unexpected pairing has been making rounds on social media and is putting the national zoo back on the map. It all started when a stray orange cat started roaming the capybara enclosure and eventually started camouflaging as one of them. Due to the attraction Oyen has garnered, Zoo Negara has acknowledged the feline and has given the cat a permanent plaque to signify his spot. Another stray, Ompok the calico cat has joined Oyen in the enclosure.
Oyen has been the latest addition to the Zoo Negara family; however, not all animals are here to stay. After all, Zoo Negara focuses rehabilitation and conservation, which is why this may be your last chance to see the infamous Zoo Negara pandas. Due to the hot climate, pandas are not native to Malaysia or many other countries aside from China. However in 2014, China loaned two pandas, Xing Xing and Liang Liang to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China. Since then, the pair of pandas have had 3 cubs, Nuan Nuan, Sheng Yi, and Yi Yi. The first of the three cubs was sent back to China in 2017, and the other two were expected to be sent back to China earlier this year. However, due to the pandemic their travel was delayed until after August.
Aside from visiting the zoo, there are many other ways to support the organisation protecting our wildlife. One of which is by ‘adopting’ an animal. The ‘Adopt an Animal’ programme was an initiative by Zoo Negara for Malayisans to contribute to the national zoo. Packages start at RM50, where each donor will receive an e-certificate and vouchers in exchange for supporting the animals’ food, enrichment and veterinary care.
If your willing to get your hands a bit dirty, you can get involved with the KeeperKu programme, which is a volunteer programme that allows you to work with animals on Wildlife Husbandry & Enrichment, and also partake in the Veterinary Hospital, Park & Gardens and other departments.
Lastly, if you find yourself searching for an occasion to visit the zoo, now’s the time! Zoo Negara is offering free admission for all Malysians during their birthday month. All you need to do is redeem the free entrance ticket over the counter at Zoo Negara within 30 days from your birthday by showing the concierge your IC/MyKad.
Zoo Negara is the first local zoo for Malaysians showcasing and hosting over 5000 different specimens of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish. The National Zoo has matured into a premier zoological park and aquaria dedicated to conservation and research. Since being opened 60 years ago, the zoo has been working to re-establish and change old zoo keeping concepts, and evolve into an open concept zoo. By taking a visit to the zoo or adopting an animal, you are helping support the vision and missions of Zoo Negara. We could also help our national zoo achieve this goal by donating or volunteering for them. From the harimau malaya to the now famous capybaras, Zoo Negara helps keep these animals safe and well in an effort to protect wildlife and as citizens we should do anything we can to support their initiative.
Written By: Ally
Edited By: Ruby