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Saigon Is (Maybe) Getting Its Own Safari Park

If Vingroup has anything to say about it, the southern hub will one day be home to the country's largest safari park and ecotourism site.

The company – which opened its first safari park on Phu Quoc last December and later came under fire for alleged mismanagement of the facility, an accusation it has denied – recently took over as the principal investor in the long-stalled Saigon Safari Park project, reports Thanh Nien.

Though the initial investor, Saigon Zoo Company, began site clearance work back in 2004, relocating nearly all of the 700 families whose homes stood on the project's land, Saigon Safari Park has idled for roughly a decade due to funding complications.

Now, however, Vingroup has snapped up the US$500 million project, and city officials expect to assess the company's detailed plan for Saigon Safari Park some time next month. The facility will include not only a safari park area but also a golf course, a hotel and space for outdoor activities.

If all goes according to plan, the Saigon park will house roughly 10,000 animals from over 300 different species as well as 3,000 varieties of plants, reports VietnamNet.

The municipal government, which has long wrestled with developing this project, hopes to see construction begin by early 2017, according to Vietnam News, though a handful of families in the area still need to be relocated. The news outlet says 97% of households on the site have been cleared, however some 30 families who are seeking higher compensation remain.

For the animals, too, it would be beneficial to get the ball rolling: due to overcrowding at the Saigon Zoo, some animals have already been relocated to the Cu Chi area, according to Thanh Nien.

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