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Planners squeeze zoos out of cities

[ 2010-11-23 13:42]     字号 [] [] []  
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As cities continue to develop and expand, urban planners across China are attempting to move zoos and animal parks into outlying suburbs.

With demand for land high, developers say that many animal parks are taking up prime real estate.

In 1984, when Zhengzhou Zoo was still fairly central, the Henan province's Administration Center for Bicycle Sports loaned 50 mu (3.3 hectares) to build a bicycle competition gymnasium. As compensation, the city government offered the use of another nearby patch of land.

As the city grew, though, tall and imposing buildings soon began to surround the zoo.

"It became impossible for the government to find land around the zoo," said Li Guohong, director of the zoo's general office, who explained that staff members were also frustrated when they learned the bicycle center had loaned out part of the land to a driving school.

As a protest and to call for the return of the land, more than 100 workers placed cages holding a lion and two tigers outside of the center.

Employees at Beijing Zoo also voiced their strong opposition when government officials began discussing plans to move the park out of the city in 2004. The news also angered environmental organizations, lawyers and academics.

Several of the animal parks that have already been squeezed out of city centers have complained the move had a major impact on their incomes.

After being moved to the outskirts in 2004, bosses at Harbin Zoo in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province said visitor numbers fell from 800,000 a year to just 100,000. As a result, ticket prices increased from 10 yuan ($1.5) to 80 yuan.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Planners squeeze zoos out of cities

Planners squeeze zoos out of cities

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.