Manila Zoo’s urban garden yields vegetable harvest to feed animals

Manila Zoo's urban garden
Manila Zoo is now a sustainable attraction after a portion of it was converted into an urban garden to benefit the animals. Credits to Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso Facebook.

A portion of Manila Zoo in Malate has been converted into an urban garden to grow food for the animals.

While the city tourist attraction run by the Public Recreations Bureau has been closed to the public, the caretakers and the city government used the horseback riding area to grow food for the animals inside the park.

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The fruits and vegetables planted in the zoo include alugbati, ampalaya (bitter gourd), eggplant, okra, mustasa (mustard), patola (silk squash), kalabasa (squash), upo (bottle gourd), and more, from seedlings provided by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry.

Even Manila Zoo’s 40-year-old-plus resident, Mali, the elephant, contributed to the harvest after watermelons and melons also sprouted from its manure.

The urban gardening was conceptualized in April, and after few months of hard work, the caretakers were able to harvest the vegetables to supply food for the zoo’s birds, elephant, rabbits, zebras, and more.

Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso commended Public Recreations Bureau for turning the zoo into a sustainable attraction.

“Kapag may itinanim, tiyak na may aanihin!” the mayor said on his Facebook post on July 11, 2020.

“Nakakatuwa pong tingnan ang mga gulay na na-ani ng Public Recreations Bureau sa ating munting urban garden sa Manila Zoo.”

Domagoso also said the urban garden helps lessen the budget normally allotted for the animals inside the zoo.

“Kung matatandaan po ninyo, ginawa po nating organic urban garden ang horseback riding area ng Manila Zoo habang sarado po ito sa publiko upang kahit paano ay maging sustainable po ang ating zoo para sa ating mga alagang hayop. Bawas tosgas pa!

“Ang mga gulay na maaani po rito ay magiging pagkain ng mga hayop at ang iba naman ay ibabahagi po natin sa ating mga kawani sa Manila Zoo na 24/7 nagbabantay sa ating mga alagang hayop,” Isko shared.

The country has seen a resurgence of interest in home gardening as a result of the lockdown.

Baguio City residents received vegetable seeds and seedlings to help them set up home-based urban gardens.

The newly crowned Miss Philippines Earth 2020 Roxie Baeyens of Baguio City has been championing urban gardening to help address the food shortage in this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

In Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the Yamang Bukid Farm reopened to visiting guests interested in their healthy organic products and urban farming technique.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Manila Zoo’s caretakers for championing urban gardening as a food source.

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