The Jakarta administration is preparing to hold a public hearing in October to discuss the future of Ragunan Zoo with the hope of improving maintenance efforts and to raise its presence internationally.
The zoo, according to Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, is the world’s third largest zoo to be located in a city and is approximately four to five times bigger than Singapore Zoo.
But poor maintenance and development efforts over the years have seen the facility deteriorate in quality.
“As such, on October 3, we will be holding something like a public hearing. We want to know the direction in which Ragunan’s future development is headed, whether it will be developed more as a park or whether it should get more animals,” Basuki said at City Hall on Friday.
“The governor himself wants Jakarta to have a world-class zoo.”
Basuki said he would like to see Ragunan either host more wild animals or have no animals at all, making it similar to the Bogor Botanical Garden.
“But others may not agree,” he said.
“Not everyone will have the same idea. That’s why this public hearing is needed, to synchronize the desires of the private sector and public officials.”
The government is also considering changing the current zoo entrance fee, which is Rp 4,000 (37 US cents) per person, as it takes into account the varying zoo ticket prices in other cities.
The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., charges no entrance fee, allowing visitors to enjoy the park for free. In Surabaya, however, the entrance fee is Rp 20,000 per person.
Meanwhile, in terms of financing, the government plans to involve private companies as sponsors as well as use the annual city budget.
“The governor said it’s OK to use the annual city budget. Just imagine, if Jakarta’s annual budget reaches Rp 70 trillion next year, then we do have plenty of money, it can even be saved,” Basuki said.
However, he acknowledged that it would take at least three to four years before the zoo could be brought up to international standards and earn global popularity. Therefore, he said, the development would have to be conducted in phases.
For instance, he said, if the required funding was Rp 1 trillion, it could be arranged for the city to allocate Rp 250 billion every year for four years.
“It’s unlikely that the budget will reach Rp 1 trillion, because the land is already there, but that’s just an example,” the deputy governor said.
“The most it could need is hundreds of billions,” he added.