Saigon zoo denies rumor that animals are booted out for property project

By Dinh Muoi, Thanh Nien News

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The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh 
The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden has dismissed rumors circulating on the Internet recently that it will be relocated to free up the space for a tower project. 
“I am totally surprised by the rumor. There has not been a single document on the relocation of the animals or any construction project here,” said Nguyen Khac Dung of the Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department that manages the zoo in the city downtown, known to locals as Thao Cam Vien Saigon.
Earlier, many netizens spread the story that Thao Cam Vien is moving its animals away for a construction project.
There have even been several petitions online attracting thousands of signatures to protest such a move. 
Pictures of three old trees being cut down in the zoo have also spread widely as proof of the relocation.
But Dung said that the trees were cut down to prevent possible collapses and the park’s management had obtained permission to do so.
He admitted that some animals have been relocated to Saigon Safari Park in Cu Chi District due to their growing numbers, but Thao Cam Vien will stay. 
The safari park, around 40 kilometers from the city downtown, is scheduled for a completion in August. It is however unlikely to meet the deadline. 
HCMC authorities actually have a plan to renovate Thao Cam Vien to better serve visitors with more attractions and a wider diversity of animals and plants, he said.

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