Mon, Oct 29, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Taipei Zoo throws party celebrating 21 years in Muzha

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei Zoo celebrated its 21st anniversary in its Muzha (木柵) location yesterday.

Like many sunny Saturdays, the MRT train to the zoo was packed with families on their way to enjoying a day out with the animals.

Although many families were not aware that it has been almost 21 years since the zoo moved from its cramped location in Yuanshan (圓山) to the more spacious environs of Muzha, others turned up specifically because of the anniversary.

Zoo workers estimate that more than 30,000 visitors entered the turnstiles yesterday.

Among celebratory activities were musical performances and quizzes testing kids about animal knowledge, but the star attraction was a display of ancient dinosaur fossils on loan from paleontologist Huang Da-yi (黃大一) of the Dino Dragon international research foundation.

Visitors were not only able to see but to touch the one-day display, including a 70 million year-old anatosaurus femur that Huang discovered on a dig in Montana.

Wang Mei-mei (王美美) of Montana's Asia Pacific Office oversaw the display yesterday at the zoo's education building.

"Lift it up to see how heavy it is," said Wang, encouraging a visitor who had stopped to touch the ancient leg bone.

Wang said that the reaction to the display had been very positive, with visitors surprised and pleased by the opportunity to touch something so ancient.

"We are working with the zoo to see if we can put together a permanent display,"Wang said.

The zoo also used the occasion to solicit sponsorships from visitors. Donations go toward care for the animals as well as research. Zoo personnel estimates that there are approximately 1,300 sponsors who pay NT$1,000 a year to become a friend of the zoo.

Taipei resident Yang Ming-yu (楊明玉) was there with 13 members of her extended family. She paid for a sponsorship in the name of her eight-year-old niece.

"I've been coming to the zoo ever since I was young," Yang said. "It's a favorite activity for the whole family and we try and make it here at least once a year."

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