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.