KUALA BERANG: The owner of a mini zoo here has suffered a loss of tens of thousands of ringgit after five animals died in the zoo, believed to be due to the hot weather that has continued since April.

Razia Rimba Zoo owner Datuk Seri Zakaria Abdul Razak said the extreme hot weather, reaching 40 degrees Celcius, has caused over 100 animals of various species in his zoo to face the risk of heat stroke.

He said the animals which died were a capybara, alpaca, kangaroo, spotted deer and matamata (a freshwater turtle from Brazil).

“Our team had taken various measures to reduce the risk of heat stroke and these included installing a sprinkler system, enlarging the pool and adding ice to bring down temperatures.

“Additionally, we fixed shades to prevent the sun’s rays from hitting the animals directly, but some still died,“ he said when met at Razia Rimba Zoo in Kampung Dusun here today.

Zakaria said to avoid more deaths during the hot season, rangers took the initiative to increase the frequency of monitoring especially during the daytime to ensure there is a sufficient water supply for the animals in the zoo.

According to him, plans to increase the number of animals in the zoo had to be postponed temporarily in view of the hot weather that is still continuing.

He said since the zoo opened on July 15 last year, there had been an encouraging response by visitors and it has become an ecotourism attraction that generates a side income for local residents and the state.

“Although Razia Rimba is located a distance away, about 50 kilometres, from Kuala Terengganu, it still receives favourable response from both visitors from within and outside of Terengganu.

“The average number of visitors during the school holidays is between 800 and 1,000 people per day. The arrival of tourists from outside (Terengganu) indirectly helps boost the economic activities of the surrounding residents who have so far only depended on the local community,“ he said.

He also said that entry prices are also very low, at RM20 for adults and RM15 for children below 12, as well as for senior citizens.

“For school groups and other groups, we provide special packages that are more economical. Our purpose in setting the prices of tickets at a cheaper rate is to give all groups the opportunity to enjoy a fun vacation with their families,“ he added.