Nearly all of the people who participated in an online poll supported a proposal to close Taipei Zoo for an additional 12 days every year to allow the park to improve its facilities, Taipei City Government officials said on Tuesday.
The zoo only closes on Lunar New Year’s Eve, and various indoor exhibitions are closed on Mondays on a rotating basis.
The zoo had proposed closing for an additional 12 days per year for renovations, and asked the public to vote in a poll on the city’s i-Voting platform between Feb. 13 and March 12.
Almost all respondents, 98.3, or 30,058 people out of 30,579, supported the proposal, the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission said.
The zoo said the change is expected to be implemented next year.
If the zoo could be closed between June 19 and June 30, it would give workers enough time to conduct maintenance, repair facilities and examine the environment, while allowing more rest time for the zoo’s inhabitants, it added.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said there seems to be a great imbalance in the percentage of votes, but added that as a majority of the participants voted to let the animals rest for about two weeks per year, the city government would back the policy and evaluate its effects.
“The zoo animals are being affected [by visitors] throughout the year, so they should have some time off to rest for a while,” he said.
Asked whether the zoo staff could also take a break during the closure period, Ko said the number of staff could be reduced, with only necessary personnel for daily maintenance and animal care working during the period.
Public opinion, professional suggestions and certain values must be taken into account when setting policies, he said.
However, such values are not involved in some policies, so public opinion can make the decision in those cases, and if the public is happy seeing the zoo animals given a summer break, then the city government would support it, Ko added.
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