Manila Zoo
The entrance in 2022
14°33′53″N 120°59′19″E / 14.5647412°N 120.9886014°E / 14.5647412; 120.9886014
Date openedJuly 25, 1959; 64 years ago (1959-07-25)
LocationAdriatico Street, Malate, Manila, Philippines
Land area5.5 hectares (14 acres)
No. of animals549 (2023)
No. of species90 (2015)
Annual visitors480,000+ [1]
Major exhibitsMali (elephant) (now deceased)
OwnerCity Government of Manila
ManagementManila Public Recreation Bureau
Public transit accessMetro interchange Quirino

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. First opened on July 25, 1959, it was recently renovated and reopened on November 21, 2022.


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] The zoo, also known colloquially as Manila Zoo, underwent construction for one year and cost more than 1 million to create. Its inauguration was attended by First Lady Leonila Garcia.[5] It is erroneously referred to as the oldest zoo in Asia by the Manila city government, partly for which it is marked as a city landmark,[6] despite the establishment of Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo in Japan in 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] and in July 2020, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the rehabilitation and redevelopment of the zoo. The project's budget was a reported ₱1.7 billion and was initially expected to be finished in 19 months. The zoo was planned to introduce a 30-foot lagoon waterfall, a big cat enclosure, a marsupial exhibit, a monkey enclosure, and a restaurant.[17][18] The Zoo reopened on December 30, 2021.[19]

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

Manila Zoo fully reopened on November 21, 2022.[21]


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

The Manila Zoo is home to more than 549 specimens of exotic wildlife, representing at least 12 species of mammals, 38 species of birds, and 21 species of reptiles.[22]

Principal animals include a White Siberian Tiger named Kois.[23] The zoo formerly housed a hippopotamus named Queen Bertha, which died in 2017 as the oldest captive hippopotamus in the world at age 65.[24][25] It also formerly housed a lone Asian female elephant named Ma'ali (Vishwama'ali), which died in November 2023. Due to her living in isolation for several decades, she had been the subject of various campaigns to have her relocated to a sanctuary overseas, but remained a major attraction at the Zoo.[26]

The zoo's animal collection is divided into four categories: mammals, birds, reptiles, and aquatic life.[27]

Many of the animals of the zoo were born in captivity, with three month-old juveniles recently born in April 2015.[1]


The Manila Zoo's Botanical Garden nurtures more than 10,000 plants in its botanical garden.[22]


Children viewing lions in captivity.

Manila Zoo covers an area of 51,000 square meters (550,000 sq ft),[3] and is under the direct management of the Manila City Government through its Public Recreation Bureau.[28][29]

Former facilities

Habitat Environment Adjustment Area

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.[30] The area was permanently closed on January 23, 2019.

Kinder Zoo

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.[31][32] The area was permanently closed on January 23, 2019.


  1. ^ a b 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. 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. ^ "Manila Zoo Closed for Construction of Water Facility". February 5, 2019. Archived from the original on July 4, 2019. 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. ^ "Manila Zoo fully reopens today". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved July 10, 2023.
  22. ^ a b "Manila Zoo | Rediscover the New Manila Zoo". Retrieved December 11, 2022.
  23. ^ Cayabyab, Marc Jayson (January 31, 2022). "Manila Zoo names new tiger after Isko". The Philippine Star. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
  24. ^ Gawande, Anish (July 12, 2017). "Queen Bertha, world's 'oldest captive hippo,' dies in Manila at 65". CNN Philippines. Archived from the original on June 7, 2021. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  25. ^ "Bertha, the world's 'oldest' hippo, dies at 65". BBC News. July 10, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  26. ^ Mendoza, John Eric (November 28, 2023). "Manila Zoo elephant Mali dies". Inquirer. Retrieved November 28, 2023.
  27. ^ "Manila Zoo | Rediscover the New Manila Zoo". Retrieved December 10, 2022.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Cayabyab, Marc Jayson. "Renovated Manila Zoo to reopen on December 30". Retrieved December 10, 2022.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ Enriquez, Marge (August 4, 2000). "A gentler, kinder zoo". Philippine Daily Inquirer - Lifestyle. p. 4. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  32. ^ Enriquez, Marge (August 4, 2000). "A gentler, kinder zoo". Philippine Daily Inquirer - Lifestyle. p. 6. Retrieved May 28, 2015.