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City government considers relocating China's first public zoo

By China Daily (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-31 07:41

City government considers relocating China's first public zoo

Visitors look at a monkey in Beijing Zoo. [Photo/IC]

Parts of the 110-year-old Beijing Zoo may be relocated to improve the living conditions of the animals and ease traffic jams for visitors, an official said.

"We are indeed working on the possibility of the partial relocation of the Beijing Zoo," Huang Yan, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning and a CPPCC member, told the media recently.

Built in 1906, the Beijing Zoo is the first public zoo in China and receives 5 million visitors annually.

The zoo's location in the city's core means some animals have suffered from the noise, despite the soundproof facilities, Huang said.

The zoo is also packed with tourists on weekends and holidays, resulting in heavy traffic jams and restricted passenger access to the nearby subway station.

A similar proposal, which suggested relocation of the entire zoo, was considered by a small group of experts in 2004, but was sidelined by objections.

In January, the topic was reintroduced by Lian Yuming, dean of the International Institute for Urban Development in Beijing.

In contrast to the previous proposals, this one recommended that animals fit to live under the current conditions should stay, Huang said.

"This would reduce the number of tourists, and would be beneficial to the animals," Huang said.

"The remaining animals would still fulfill the basic needs of the tourists, as well as give local residents some memories to hold on to."

Liu Yuye, a Beijing native who has visited the zoo more than 10 times, said relocation would reduce the number of her visits.

"I would probably not go as often," she said. "It's such a historic place, and I think the animals would have problems re-adapting. I don't want to see it move."

Others showed more appreciation for the benefits of such a change.

"Although I'm not in favor of the move, if the move actually benefits the animals, I think it's understandable," said Wang Yanping, holding her child in her arms after visiting the zoo.

Visitors would likely be keen on the zoo keeping its rare and giant animals at the current location.

"I certainly hope that the pandas would stay," Liu said.

Liang Shuang contributed to this story.

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