Fri, Jun 22, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Netizens line up to oppose penguin habitat in Taichung

By Tang Chai-hsin  /  Staff reporter

A Facebook petition organized by “Miss Penguin” against a plan by Greater Taichung City Government to build a penguin habitat had won endorsements from 101 groups and nearly 7,000 people as of yesterday.

“Miss Penguin” and another Internet user called “Mr Penguin” said that the city government planned to spend NT$300 million (US$10 million) building a penguin habitat, while also claiming to want to become a “low carbon emissions city.” The two policies were contradictory, they said.

“Miss Penguin” said the building and maintenance of the planned penguin habitat for 60 penguins would consume a great deal of energy and might also require the flattening of a 40-year-old windbreak forest in Wuci District (梧棲), and could therefore have a serious impact on the environment.

It was ironic that at the same time as Taichung is striving to become a low carbon emissions city, it also planned to build an “ice palace” for penguins, with no connection at all to the city, she said, adding that in addition to the construction costs, the city also planned to spend NT$6 billion buying the penguins.

Instead of building a penguin habitat, “Miss Penguin” said the city government should do more to preserve local culture.

Greater Taichung City Deputy Mayor Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) yesterday said the plan to build a penguin habitat was intended to promote tourism and educate -junior-high school and -elementary-school students from cities and counties in central Taiwan.

He promised he would speak with environmentalists opposed to the plan and make any necessary revisions.

Hsiao thanked netizens for their concern, but said the project would go ahead, though the city government would try to preserve as much of the forest as possible and seek help from experts to minimize the energy needs of the habitat.

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