The Hanoi zoo, also called Thu Le Zoo, is about 5 km west of Hanoi’s center and near Daewoo Hotel in Ba Dinh District’s Kim Ma Street.
Hanoi Zoo has yet to lure its usual crowds following social distancing:
Hanoi Zoo, which reopened on May 4 following Vietnam’s social distancing ease, has yet to lure its usual crowds.
Visitor numbers have decreased by 80-90 percent over the same period last year due to the impact of Covid-19.
Pham Dinh Manh, head of the zoo’s technical department, said all staff have taken care of more than 700 animals as usual despite the drop.
The zoo, also called Thu Le Zoo, is about 5 km west of Hanoi’s center and near Daewoo Hotel in Ba Dinh District’s Kim Ma Street.
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Keeper Ngo Ngoc Han, 45, feeds the hippos their second meal of the day at 2 p.m.
“Hippos are fed thrice daily, coming ashore mouths agape when they see me coming,” Han said.
Visitors here are mainly families with young children, the latter charged VND10,000 ($0.4) and the former VND20,000 ($0.8)
Veterinarian Vu Kim Thuong provides the South American parrots mineral supplements twice weekly.
“Previously, the zoo had two parrots but now there are 10. When the baby parrots were born, zoo staff took great care of them. Seeing them healthy and grown feels like having raised your own children,” said the veterinarian who has worked at the zoo for 18 years.
A family enjoys the antics of round tail lemurs.
The zoo’s elephants, tigers, lions, monkeys and other apes often attract the most visitors.
Nguyen Ngoc Anh, 48, who manages the elephant and hippo enclosures, feeds ‘Thai’ some sugarcane.
“I have taken care of the elephants for 18 years. When one dies I am really sad. It is our daily aim to keep the animals healthy,” he said.
Ngoc Anh said, despite being familiar with the elephants, staying alert helps ensure safety.
“When we enter the enclosure, we have to pay special attention to their eyes. If angered they often whip their nose or stomp their feet,” the keeper said while bathing the elephant.
At 8 a.m. daily, trucks deliver grass to the elephant, hippo and antelope enclosures.
Hanoi Zoo has two lions. The first, named Nam, arrived in 2014 from South Africa, aged one then. Now, Nam weighs nearly 200 kg and has produced one cub named Tram.
“Tram is three years old and receives the most care,” said keeper Nguyen Quang Phuc, 50, who likes to check on the lion in his free time.
Phuc has saved many photos of the two lions from when they were cubs.
“It’s considered a dangerous job because we have to work with wild animals. For me it feels like raising my own children. The happiest thing is seeing them grow each day,” said the keeper, who has worked at the zoo for 26 years.
Hanoi Zoo is one of the top tourist attractions in Hanoi, alluring herds of visitors on weekends and holidays.