The present Cebu City Zoo was concieved in the late 1950`s by the Hon. Raymundo A. Crystal and due to his efforts and the help of the local Boy Scout organisation the appropriate land was donated in perpetuity by Governor Espina in 1969. Construction work on the zoo began in 1973. The zoo was managed by Father Eleuterio Tropa under the aegis of the "Lamplighters Foundation" until the death of Father Tropa in 1993, when management of the zoo passed to the city authorities. The City of Cebu entrusted the daily management of the zoo to the Philippine Wetlands & Wildlife Foundation Inc.(PWFC) who, although willing, had neither animal husbandry experience nor financial means to acquire it. Consequently, existing enclosures, in themselves totally unsuited for the animals they contained, continued to deteriorate, feeding became dependent on a declining gate income and animal care, if it ever existed previously, became reliant upon the advice and financial assistance of itinerant specialists. Although Quantum Conservation has been building new cages since 1997, following the masterplan drawn up by William Oliver of Fauna & Flora International, there remains much to be done. New participants in the reconstruction programme are always welcome and can e-mail us to discuss the project further
The zoo is situated above the Beverly Hills Residential area at the top of the Capitol Hills, in the Barangay (Civic District) of Calunasan and occupies 7 hectares of mixed forest land. One hectare at the upper, access, level is flat and where most of the present enclosures and administrative buildings are located. A third of the remaining property falls steeply away to the valley floor and is partly terraced. The rest has been extensively terraced and contains several potentiallv good exibit areas and observation points. A central concrete staircase in conjunction with the inter-connecting terraces and a newly excavated road facilitate movement around the zoo.
Due to both it's (zoo)geographical and physical position, a recontructed and properly managed zoo would have a great potential.The urgent need for conservation in the Philippines (even more so in Cebu) is an excellent underlying theme for a reconstructed zoo and a new logo could contain an endangered Cebu-endemic species - the Black Schama, Copsichus cebuensis, would be a good candidate. This new orientation would supply a framework for the species to be managed in the future and act as an strong magnet for visitors, both local and international.
In it`s capacity as conservation centre it would further serve as an educational focus for local schools and could earn additional income from giving lectures on conservation and biodiversity to schoolchildren. It could also act as promoter for on-going in-situ projects in Cebu, like the seriously endangered, globally unique, Tabunan Forest, Mt. Manunggal, Balamban and the Island Wildlife Sanctuary on Olango Island, Lapu lapu City which is internationally important to migrating bird species. Additionally it could act as fulcrum for all the above conservation projects vis-a-vis eco-tourists.
With a new image and a secure financial engagement by Cebu City Council, local business groups and community organisations, as well as international governments and NGO`s, could be an important source of future funding. As the only such institution on Cebu Island and the only green area in Cebu City of any consequence, the zoo could also look forward to a degree of self-financing from increased gate receipts.