MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte (PIA) --  Organized by the Southern Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SLCCI) in coordination with the city government of Maasin, the Maasin City Nature and Wildlife Park or simply known as Maasin Zoo had its soft opening, April 26, 2012 situated at Danao Forest Park, Sitio Danao, Malapoc Norte, this city.

The soft opening was conducted hours after the 2nd Eastern Visayas Business Conference held at the Kuting Reef, in the municipality of Macrohon.  12 chambers of commerce and industry that attended the business meeting trouped to Maasin Zoo for the soft opening, the first throughout Eastern Vsiayas region.

The soft opening held at past three in the afternoon started with  a short program, attended by different stakeholders, media practitioners, local and regional officials  and visitors composed of the 12 chambers throughout Eastern Visayas coming from Palompon, Baybay, Isabel, Ormoc, Leyte, Calbayog, Samar, Catarman, Northern Samar, Guian, Burauen and the Southern Leyte CCI headed by its President Robert Castañares. The program was hosted by Zaldy Olita from the city government.

A tour around Maasin zoo was made after the program, led by Maasin City Mayor Maloney Samaco with the Sangguniang Panglungsod members, Regional Directors from the Department of Tourism, Karina Rosa S. Tiopes, Department of Trade and Industry Cynthia Nierras and Department of Science and Technology’s Edgar Esperancilla and investors of the zoo.

Animals that can be seen at Maasin Zoo are (2) camels, (2) miniature horses, (3) tigers, (1) small Celebes Black Ape, (2) red-necked ostrich, crocodiles, snakes and different species of birds such as the silver pheasant, Victoria crown, umbrella and black palm cockatoos, Philippine eagle, among other classes of birds. 

A grand opening of Maasin Zoo is set next month, May, while summer classes are still going on, it was learned. 

SLCCI President Castañares was grateful for the realization of one of the tourism hubs in Southern Leyte, saying that “the local economy can benefit through building this major tourism hub in the province.” He was pleased by the visitors who came from other parts of region 8 for them to observe while the zoo is still under construction. 

It was learned that the 30-hectare park is located in the 500-hectare Danao Forest Reserve in the upland barangay of Malapoc Norte, a 14-kilometer away from the city proper and is situated 335 meters above sea level.  (PIA 8-Southern Leyte)