ZOO NEGARA – A JOURNEY THROUGH TIME
THE HUMBLE BEGINNING ~ MR V.M. HUTSON’S 5-ACRE GARDEN
Zoos are found in almost every country and a year after its independence in 1957, Malaya too needed a National Zoo. During the annual exhibition of the Malayan Agri-Horticultural Association (MAHA), the people of Malaya have shown great interest in caged animals on show at the exhibition. Mr. V.M. Hutson (later Tan Sri) Committee Member of MAHA, was responsible for the miniature zoo set-up at the exhibition. There was no doubt that Malayans enjoyed the miniature zoos and through the local press, they voiced their wish for a more permanent showcase of animals. Many of the animals that were exhibited at the annual MAHA exhibition were kept temporary at Mr. V.M. Hutson’s 5-acre garden at the Bangsar Estate (now Damansara). In the collection was an Indo-Chinese Tiger named Nikky, three Orang Utans called Jacko, Suzan and Jane together with six Estuarine Crocodiles and many others. Who would have thought that these animals would be the nucleus collection for Malaya’s National Zoo?
“BIRTH” OF NATIONAL ZOO ~ (ZOO NEGARA)
In September 1958, on the initiative of the Ministry of Natural Resources, a number of representatives of Government departments, relevant societies and interested individuals along with Mr. V.M. Hutson met and held preliminary discussions. A working party under the chairmanship of the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Natural Resources was set up to examine the proposal to establish a National Zoo for the Federation of Malaya and to recommend a detailed and practical development plan to the Minister of Natural Resources. The discussions and investigations were based on the assumption that the Government would be unable to support the project with a substantial sum of money; but it was hoped that it would assist and support the zoo in other ways; by the exemption of taxes and entertainment duties, for instance, and possibly with a small annual subvention. Subsequently all these were granted by the State and Federal Governments. The working party eventually recommended that a Zoological Society should be set-up to finance and administer the zoo which, in early stages, was to be a small area with animals in conventional cages. If enough capital accrued from this and possible gifts, the Society would embark on a more ambitious scheme on a permanent site with ‘Whipsnade’ type enclosures.
For further info, pls visit http://www.zoonegara.org.my/