Manila Zoo
Manila Zoo logo.png
Manila Zoo 2021.jpg
The entrance in 2021
Date openedJuly 25, 1959; 63 years ago (1959-07-25)
LocationAdriatico Street, Malate, Manila, Philippines
Coordinates14°33′53″N 120°59′19″E / 14.5647412°N 120.9886014°E / 14.5647412; 120.9886014Coordinates: 14°33′53″N 120°59′19″E / 14.5647412°N 120.9886014°E / 14.5647412; 120.9886014
Land area5.5 hectares (14 acres)
No. of animals~1000 (2015)
No. of species90 (2015)
Annual visitors480,000+ [1]
Major exhibitsMali (elephant)
OwnerCity Government of Manila
ManagementManila Public Recreation Bureau
Public transit access

The Manila Zoo, formally known as the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden,[2] is a 5.5-hectare (14-acre) zoo located in Malate, Manila, Philippines that opened on July 25, 1959.


Zoo entrance in 2013
Zoo entrance in 2013

The Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden first opened to the public on July 25, 1959, during the tenure of Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson.[3][4] Manila Zoo was constructed for about a year, and costed of more than 1 million. Its inauguration was attended by First Lady Leonila Garcia.[5] It is claimed to be the oldest zoo in Asia by the Manila city government which regards the site as city landmark,[6] which is incorrect since Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo has existed since 1882.

In the mid-2000s, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a campaign against Manila Zoo calling for its closure as part of its global campaign against zoos. The animal rights organization supported plans to convert the zoo into a sports complex.[6][7][8][9] The Manila city government led by Mayor Alfredo Lim, as well as local vendors operating in the zoo opposed PETA's campaign against Manila Zoo.[7]

Manila Zoo was indefinitely closed on January 23, 2019[10] by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) identified it as a major pollutant of Manila Bay.[11] The zoo was found to be dumping untreated sewage into an estuary that empties into the bay.[10][12] Estrada's government planned to renovate the zoo, but the project was placed on hold.[13][14] Animals which remained in captivity continued to be taken care of by zoo employees and volunteers despite the closure.[15]

Plans to renovate the zoo once again surfaced following the election of Isko Moreno as Manila mayor.[16] In July 2020, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the rehabilitation and redevelopment of the zoo. The project's budget is ₱1.7 billion and is expected to be finished in 19 months. The future zoo would feature a 30-foot waterfall in the lagoon, a big cat enclosure, a marsupial exhibit, a monkey enclosure and a restaurant.[17][18] The Zoo reopened on December 30, 2021.[19]

Since January 19, 2022, the Zoo is temporarily used as a COVID-19 vaccination site for minors and senior citizens.[20]


Mali, an Asian elephant and the main attraction of the zoo.
Mali, an Asian elephant and the main attraction of the zoo.

The Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden is home to about a thousand animals from 90 species as of April 2015.[1] Among animals residing or have resided in Manila Zoo includes a Bengal tiger, Malayan civet, African lion, monitor lizard and hippopotamus. Many of the animals of the zoo were born in captivity with three month-old juveniles recently born in April 2015.[1]

Mali, an Asian elephant, is regarded as the most known attraction of the zoo.[21] Another noted individual animal that has been kept in Manila Zoo, was Bertha the hippopotamus. According to zoo records, Bertha was the oldest hippopotamus in captivity when it died in 2017 at age 65.[22][23]


Manila Zoo covers an area of 51,000 square meters (550,000 sq ft).[3] It features an Animal Museum, a Lagoon, a Sewage Treatment Plant, a Food Court, a Butterfly Garden, Children's Park, as well as a Botanical Garden. The zoo is under the direct management of the city government of Manila, through its Public Recreation Bureau.[24]

Animal Museum

The Animal Museum is home to several animal species all around the world. It is part of its redevelopment plan.

Zoo Lagoon

The Lagoon features a 30-foot fountain as part of its redevelopment plan.[citation needed]

Sewage Treatment Plant

The Sewage Treatment Plant was the first ever Sewage Treatment Plant for the Zoo to prevent pollutants from the Manila Bay, as part of its redevelopment plan.[citation needed]

Botanical Garden

The Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden is home to many plant collections, from the Philippine Islands and South Pacific regions.

Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden is home to various species of Butterflies flying around the garden. It opened on December 30, 2021, as part of the Zoo's redevelopment plan.[citation needed]

Children's Park

The Children's Park is a playground exclusively for Children, which opened on December 30, 2021, as part of its redevelopment plan.

Reptile House

The Reptile House is home to various species of Reptiles such as the Snake, Monitor Lizard, Turtle and Iguana. It opened in March 2022, as part of its redevelopment plan.

Former facilities

Wildlife Rescue Center

The Wildlife Rescue Center served as a temporary shelter and repository for confiscated, donated, retrieved, sick, injured and abandoned wildlife species. The Wildlife Rescue Center has been the subject of public scrutiny in regard to their animal welfare standards.[25] The area was permanently closed on January 23, 2019.

Kinder Zoo

The Kinder Zoo area in 2012.
The Kinder Zoo area in 2012.

The Kinder Zoo within Manila Zoo was a result of a private-public partnership between Kinder Zoo, Inc. and the city government. Kinder Zoo, Inc. redeveloped 3,000 square meters (32,000 sq ft) of the zoo into an area named Kinder Zoo. The area was designed as a child-friendly area where children can interact with some animals of the zoo. The area featured a butterfly sanctuary, a hanging bridge, a flamingo pond, a barn for events, and a petting zoo upon its opening on June 23, 2000.[26][27] The area was permanently closed on January 23, 2019.


  1. ^ a b c Manongdo, Jenny. "Major facelift in the offing for aging Manila Zoo". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  2. ^ Melican, Nathaniel (May 22, 2015). "P1.5-B rehab program to turn Manila Zoo into world-class attraction starts in July". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  3. ^ a b De Leon, Susan (July 29, 2020). "'Bagong Manila Zoo' groundbreaks". Philippine Information Agency. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  4. ^ "Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden". Manila City Government. Manila City Government. Archived from the original on May 1, 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  5. ^ Arsenio H. Lacson of Manila. Anvil Publishing, Inc. 2017. ISBN 978-9712731815. Retrieved June 7, 2021. After about a year of construction, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, worth over P1M, was inaugurated on July 25, 1959, The First Lady, Leonila Dimataga-Garcia, and Manila's own First Lady, Luchi Lacson, attended the zoo's opening day.
  6. ^ a b "Manila Zoo won't be closed down - Lim". GMA News. September 14, 2007. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Santos, Tina (September 14, 2007). "Peta presses campaign for zoo closure". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  8. ^ Servando, Kristine (April 28, 2009). "Activists bare naked truth about Manila Zoo". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  9. ^ Gamil, Jaymee T. (July 17, 2011). "We need help, not criticism, Manila Zoo director tells PETA". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  10. ^ a b "LOOK: Manila Zoo closed 'until further notice'". Rappler. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  11. ^ "Manila Zoo shut down indefinitely due to untreated sewage". The Philippine Star. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  12. ^ Inc, Primer Media. "Manila Zoo Closed for Construction of Water Facility". Blog. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  13. ^ "Manila Zoo soon to be world class after rehabilitation". Kicker Daily News. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  14. ^ Tayao-Juego, Annelle. "Mayor Estrada promise of Manila Zoo rehab on hold". Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  15. ^ Sabillo, Kristine (June 16, 2019). "Manila Zoo employees experience calm, loneliness after closure". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  16. ^ Orellana, Faye. "Mayor Isko to 'redevelop,' 'repackage' Manila Zoo". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  17. ^ "P1.7-B rehab of Manila Zoo starts". Philippine Daily Inquirer. July 26, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  18. ^ Pedrajas, Joseph Almer (July 25, 2020). "Mayor Isko breaks ground for new Manila Zoo". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  19. ^ Bautista, Jane (December 30, 2021). "Greener, fresher Manila Zoo reopens after P1.7-billion makeover". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved December 30, 2021.
  20. ^ Ranada, Pia (January 18, 2022). "Isko Moreno opens Manila Zoo as vaccination site for kids, elderly". Rappler. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  21. ^ "Workers, volunteers cheer up Mali as zoo remains shut". The Nation Thailand. Philippine Daily Inquirer, Asia News Network. February 2, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  22. ^ Gawande, Anish (July 12, 2017). "Queen Bertha, world's 'oldest captive hippo,' dies in Manila at 65". CNN Philippines. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  23. ^ "Bertha, the world's 'oldest' hippo, dies at 65". BBC News. July 10, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  24. ^ Rafales, April (July 4, 2019). "Goal is to make Manila Zoo child-friendly, but it'll take time, says official". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  25. ^ Almazan, Ronnel R.; Rubio, Roberto P.; Agoramoorthy, Govindasamy (2005). "Welfare Evaluations of Nonhuman Animals in Selected Zoos in the Philippines". Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. 8 (1): 59–68. doi:10.1207/s15327604jaws0801_5. PMID 16004545. S2CID 29497339.
  26. ^ Enriquez, Marge (August 4, 2000). "A gentler, kinder zoo". Philippine Daily Inquirer - Lifestyle. p. 4. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  27. ^ Enriquez, Marge (August 4, 2000). "A gentler, kinder zoo". Philippine Daily Inquirer - Lifestyle. p. 6. Retrieved May 28, 2015.