Visitors flock to Yangon Zoological Gardens’ 118th anniversary celebration

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The Yangon Zoological Gardens, the Southeast Asia’s oldest, celebrated its 118th birthday from 25 to 28 January with a four-day festival featuring a variety of entertaining programmes in the compound of the zoo.
The festivities include music bands, dance performances, magic shows, photo opportunities with tame animals, children’s games and gift giveaways, Q&A sessions, food stalls, pharmacies, souvenirs, and toy shops.
Established during the colonial era under British rule, the Yangon Zoological Gardens, originally named the Victoria Memorial Park, has a rich history. Sir Arthur Phayre, the Commissioner of Myanmar, developed a keen interest in Myanmar’s birds and animals and began collecting and raising them in small cages around 1867.
In 1882, the “Phayre” museum, located at the site of the Yangon General Hospital, exhibited wild animals in small cages. This location also housed the Phayre Museum and the Agri-Horticultural Society of Myanmar.
In 1901, in honour of Queen Victoria’s 25th reign anniversary (1819-1901), public donations totalling K240,000 funded the establishment of a separate zoo. Sixty-one acres of fallow land near the Kandawgyi Lake were cleared to build the current zoo.
In January 1906, England’s Prince of Wales and his wife, later known as King George V and Queen Mary, inaugurated the zoo, renaming it Victoria Memorial Park.
Officially opened on 25 January 1906, the Yangon Zoological Gardens has remained a cherished landmark since its inception. — Aung Myint (IPRD)/KZL

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