Official Buys Exotic African Animals for Zoo

Four hippopotamuses, four zebras and several ostriches are being shipped from Africa and are ex­pected to arrive at a privately-owned Kampot province zoo in the com­ing days, the zoo’s owner Nhim Vanda said Thursday.

Nhim Vanda, who is also first vice president of the National Com­mittee for Disaster Management, said the animals cost him “quite a lot of money.”

“The animals are on their way,” he said, adding that he is also considering buying a gorilla to keep them company.

The new arrivals will join a population of 150 animals comprised of 52 other species housed at the Kam­pot zoo, and at a second zoo that Nhim Vanda owns in Prey Veng province’s Kamchay Mear district.

These include a male lion from Rus­sia, a female lion from Thailand and four baby tigers that were born in December.

The Kampot zoo costs him $25,000 per year in food and medical treatment, he said, adding that “foreign friends and animal lovers” help him foot the bill.

“I have liked all kinds of animals since I was young,” Nhim Vanda ex­plained.

In recent months, he said, he lured several lions and tigers back into a cage when vets accidentally left their cage door open during a check-up. Nhim Vanda recalled that he re­turned to the zoo to find the vets hid­­ing in a tree, and the lions playing.

“I called their names and then they followed me into the cage,” he recalled. “They listen to me.”

Nhim Vanda’s two zoos are open dai­ly. Admission is $4 for foreign vis­­itors and $0.25 for Cambodians.



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