Speaker pans Kaohsiung gov’t for blocking tigers
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The China Post news staff
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KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan — The Speaker of Kaohsiung’s City Council Chuang Chi-wang lashed out at the city’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-dominated administration yesterday during a visit to the city’s Shou Shan Zoo, saying that the zoo’s failure to accept a pair of white tigers offered as a gift by Guangzhou’s Xiangjiang Safari Park was a reason why the zoo’s attendance figures remained stagnant.
The offer of the pair of white tigers was made when Chuang visited Mainland China last summer. However due to the DPP’s concern that accepting the tigers would belittle Taiwan’s political status, the tigers have not been able to make their way across the Taiwan Strait.
This lies in stark contrast with the arrival of pandas “Tuan Tuan” and “Yuan Yuan” at Taipei Zoo, located in the Taipei’s Muzha district, which has boosted attendance numbers there.
Chuang yesterday panned the city government for letting political rhetoric get in the way of the zoo’s development, saying that the zoo lacked animals with major appeal that would draw many visitors.
Touring the zoo yesterday afternoon with a group of city councilors, Chuang also pointed out that the tiger zone was virtually barren, with little greenery, rendering the area aesthetically unpleasing.
The Deputy Director of the Kaohsiung City Tourism Bureau Kung Tien-fa responded to Chuang’s comments yesterday, saying that the administration was working on allowing the tigers to arrive in Kaohsiung in a manner that would not belittle Taiwan’s political status.
The administration would abide by three principles, including abiding by the Washington Convention on International Trade in endangered species and responding to criticisms leveled by animal-rights groups. If no acceptable deal could be worked out, the city would aim to strike a deal with Leofoo Village and try to have the tigers displayed at Shou Shan Zoo on loan.
The Tourism Bureau was also working with the central government on having Australian Koalas brought to the zoo by next year, Kung said. Shou Shan Zoo is currently in the middle of renovations, and will open in two phases. The first phase is scheduled to open on July 12.
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