The move of ruling party Senator Ly Yong Phat’s “Safari World” from Koh Kong province to Phnom Penh is almost complete, the powerful politician and businessman said yesterday.
Phat said the new zoo would open on the capital’s Chroy Changvar peninsula in early 2017 and offer the same attractions as its current site, which include orangutan boxing performances, crocodile shows, tigers and a water park for marine animals.
“I will bring young Cambodians to see what they have never seen before,” Phat said yesterday, acknowledging the remote Koh Kong location, which is adjacent to his border casino complex, had made business tough.
“At first I thought that by situating it in Koh Kong province it could attract tourists from Thailand and Cambodia as well, but after it was opened, it was not as successful as expected.”
Phat, a tycoon whose interests also include sugar plantations and cigarettes, said he hoped the new 80-hectare park’s proximity to the capital would attract more visitors. He said prices would remain $5 for Cambodians and between $7 and $10 for foreigners.
Asked whether the orangutan boxing – which is part of a routine performed by the primates – would definitely continue when the park moves, Phat, saying the line was unclear, suggested the Post ring back but then failed to answer later calls.
Nick Marx, Wildlife Alliance director of wildlife rescue and care programs, said though he did not approve of animal performances, his previous visit to the senator’s Koh Kong zoo found the animals generally well cared-for.