It’s fun to watch and photograph the animals and birds feeding by the zoo keepers. I walked to the places that the zoo keepers feeding the animals and birds. Some animals are fed twice a day, others once a day.
For the carnivores much of the feeding is done at night, as members of the public might not be able to stomach the spectacle of fresh bloody meat and even live goats, chickens and mice being ingested by the animals (as some like the pythons do not normally eat dead animals).
The cost of the food for the animals are really high. The 45-year-old zoo is run by the Malaysian Zoological Society. Its main source of funds are the entrance fees (80%), sponsorships and donations. It has not received any allocation under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
Fish prices have gone up almost 40%, hit by fuel prices for boats and ships, and for transporting the fish to the towns. According to the newspaper report from Zoo Negara director Dr Mohamad, the last year food budget was RM1.3mil. It was forecasted to hit RM2mil this year. The number of animals in the zoo has increased by almost 2,000 to 5,361 last year.
Zoo Negara also planting a lot of fruit trees and also some vegetables of its own. We plant some of the trees in the enclosures so that the herbivores can have direct access to the food. This will reduce work and time spent harvesting and cutting up the food for the animals.
“We don’t have to screen the food unlike those sourced from outside to see if it is safe for the animals. And hope to reduce food costs by 50% eventually”.