MALACCA - African wildlife is coming to the state.
This includes various species from the African antelope family, such as the eland, with its spirally-twisted horns; the oryx, a type of gazelle with straight horns; the greater kudu, a woodland antelope; and the waterbuck, known to frequent marshy and reedy places.
The Malacca Zoo is preparing for the shipment of 24 various species of exotic and endangered animals, all specially ordered from the African continent.
They will be the latest exhibits at the zoo, which will be turned into a river safari and wildlife park under the management of a consortium headed by KAJ Development Sdn Bhd after it was privatised last year.
"Preparations to bring in the animals, including the export licence, are in place and we are now waiting for permission from the Veterinary Department to transport the animals here," said KAJ Development chief executive officer Datuk Michelle Ong.
She added that the animals were expected to be here by the end of the year.
"This is a massive project and we need to get approval from several other departments and permits from the National Parks and Wildlife Department too," she said.
She said her company had commissioned a Singapore-based architectural firm to reconstruct the zoo and turn it into a world-class wildlife park.
Ong said they would unveil an aquatic hub at the zoo and a dedicated zoological garden.
She denied allegations of poor animal care that had purportedly led to the deaths of some endangered species at the zoo, saying: "Every living thing has to undergo the natural process of birth and death."
Ong said some employees who had resigned could be trying to smear the management's reputation.
"Yes, we had one ox that succumbed to a virus recently, but the animal was also old.
"The fatality rate at Malacca Zoo remains the lowest among zoos in the region and we have three zoological experts who previously served in the civil service to manage the menagerie," she said.