Those Years I Opened A Zoo
Chapter 51 Society, Society
“…On the 28th, at two in the afternoon, the Ling You Zoo in our city has finally introduced the first male Asian elephant, Chu Guo. The ten-year-old Chu Guo was born in Siam. His whole body is snow-white and symbolizes good luck. When the Siamese visited our country three years ago, it was presented to the Wuliang Temple. In order to give Chu Guo a better and more professional growth environment, after many inspections, the abbot of the Wuliang Temple, Master Ji Shan, sent Chu Guo to Ling You Zoo.” The reporter stood at Ling You’s gate and broadcasted.
At the same time, there were several national and provincial-level media at Ling You Zoo, doing reports on the situation. Some media had also photographed the elephant house, “The elephant house covers an area of one thousand square meters and is divided into two parts. The elephant house is equipped with ventilation facilities, such as pipes, warm water pipes, and heaters. There are excellent lighting with great effects fixed on the ceiling. This steel door leads to the sports field…”
When the truck carrying the white elephant arrived, all the media came forward to film Chu Guo.
The elephant trainer of Wuliang Temple led the white elephant out of the car and walked into the sports field. The director, Duan Jiaze, and the abbot, Ji shan, were also beside him. Duan Jiaze was holding a bamboo shoot in his hand. Noticing that the white elephant was a little tense due to the new environment after a long journey there, Duan Jiaze stepped forward and handed it the bamboo shoots.
Chu Guo rolled his trunk and took the bamboo shoots, putting them in his mouth.
Chu Guo’s whole body was white, including his nails. His eyes were reddish-brown, and he was nearly three meters tall. He also had two long ivories. After eating the bamboo shoots handed by Duan Jiaze, Chu Guo had a good attitude, and Duan Jiaze stepped forward to touch its head.
The scene where Chu Guo gently let Duan Jiaze pat his head at the beginning was filmed by the media, which seemed to prove that Ling You was indeed suitable for raising Asian elephants.
Ji Shan and Duan Jiaze also gave interviews separately. One expressed trust in Ling You and felt that the place was professional, which was a better decision to let the white elephant be taken care of there, whereas the other expressed that they must live up to their trust and make the white elephant live a glorious life.
The citizens at the East China Sea were still very enthusiastic. The local TV station had already made a trailer from their preliminary reports. That day, many citizens came to watch. However, Chu Guo had just arrived in Ling You and he needed to rest for two days before getting visited by tourists in the exhibition area. That did not hinder the enthusiasm of the citizens though. Since Chu Guo arrived at the zoo, the people had been busy taking pictures and photography.
After all, the Asian elephant had a lot of auras and legends. The people could make up numerous stories unconsciously. When they looked at the elephant, they felt a mysterious vibe, which was a kind of type that was the most popular among visitors.
There were Asian elephants in the city zoo, but they were just ordinary elephants. How could they be the same as the kind in Ling You’s? Chu Guo was sent by foreign religions, not to mention having a meaning of his own, rare and expensive as well. There were many citizens watching his arrival that day, but there would definitely be more tourists after the official opening of the exhibition area.
After the outsiders were gone, in the elephant house, You Su took a bamboo shoot to feed the elephant carefully. She touched him with one hand, and said, “This white elephant is called Chu Guo. That’s a pretty cute name.”
“Cute? It seems to be a Buddhist term.” Duan Jiaze said casually.
You Su asked curiously, “By the way, Director, how on earth did you get the monk to put such an expensive animal in our zoo?”
Their relationship was too abnormal. They sold coupons with Taoist temples, and the monks also foster foreign national treasure animals.
Furthermore, there would be dozens of monks coming to work soon. Duan Jiaze said with a mysterious face, “When you need to know, you will naturally know.”
You Su’s brain racked up a lot of stories at once, and the look in Duan Jiaze’s eyes became even more in awe.
Chu Guo finished eating the bamboo shoots. Blinking his big eyes, he took a step closer to Duan Jiaze. He used his trunk to poke him a few times, as if he was acting like a baby, but also revealing his wish: Wanting more bamboo shoots.
Duan Jiaze rubbed Chu Guo’s trunk. It seemed that the white elephant had a rather high IQ. Duan Jiaze was unsure if the long duration of staying in a Buddhist temple affected the elephant’s intelligence. The animal could even tell who actually was the person making the decision to feed him the bamboo shoots.
The elephant trainer hired by the Wuliang Temple had been with it for two years and they developed a deep relationship. After the elephant arrived, the trainer kept asking if the zoo would let Chu Guo perform. Chu Guo had no performance experience and never had to do anything in the temple. He was used to only doing simple daily training, so the trainer hoped that the zoo would be merciful.
When the elephant trainer knew that there were no animal performances in Ling You, he found it incredible. However, he finally understood that the zoo’s style had always been the same. Just by the natural behavior of existing animals was enough to attract many people.
From that perspective, the white elephant was quite suitable there.
“You’ve eaten enough. Not too much or you’ll pass the limit.” Duan Jiaze told Chu Guo that there was a system to help him take count of how much each animal should be fed.
Chu Guo raised his trunk and trumpeted, as if complaining.
The East Sea City Mall was filled with forty-two bald heads, ranging in age from twenty to thirty-four. They walked out uniformly, all wearing dark long-sleeved T-shirts and jeans with a shiny head, which was very eye-catching.
Passers-by could not help but discuss in a low voice,
“Why are there so many bald heads?”
“Who are they…”
“They don’t seem like soldiers too, there is no queue.”
“My God, can’t you see it?” Someone whispered, “Look at those people. They are all bald, ages ranging between young and middle-aged. They even went buying clothes together. They must be… just released from prison.”
After those most promising monks from major temples across the country met East Sea City, they bought regular clothes in the mall together. They changed their monk robes, and then took the bus to Ling You Zoo together.
Everyone was a Buddhist cultivator. At least they looked relatively modest and peaceful superficially.
“Brother, sit here.”
“Big brothers, please enter. I’ll buy the tickets.”
A group of bald heads were showing humility to each other. Soon, the bus became very crowded. The passengers all looked at them and wondered which gang they were from.
No one really thought about them being monks. Firstly, it was because there were no monasteries in East Sea City, and there were almost no monks appearing except for the last inter-religious exchange programme. Secondly, how could monks address each other as “brothers”? Thirdly, most of those monks also do work in addition to doing their daily homework every day. They were all outstanding people of their temple. They even considered being volunteers for the zoo, so none of them were in poor body shape.
Without looking at their faces, just by the way they speak, their body structure and hairstyle, they surely would look suspicious!
When the bus arrived at Ling You Zoo, the monks got off, and they told the girl at the entrance and ticket office that they were new volunteers.
Xu Wen knew that there would be long-term volunteers coming that day, but she did not know that all the people who came were bald. They looked like they knew each other and could not help but stay in a daze, “Wa… wait, I’ll report this to the director.”
Among the group of monks, three came from Wuliang Temple. The eldest one was a disciple of Ji Shan, whose name of religion was Fa Bing, and his original name was Su Xiang. In Ling You, they not only had to take off their monk clothes, but also had to completely conceal the fact that they were monks. Therefore, they addressed each other with their original names.
That was why they called each other with the term “big brother” and “young brother” on the bus. They should be addressing each other with “senior” and “junior”, but they changed it in order to cover up their identity.
While looking at them, Xu Wen picked up the phone and called Duan Jiaze, “Director, that… the volunteers are here, but they… they all seem to be…”
“Bald? If yes, then it’s them, no doubt. Let them in. I’m in the office building.” Duan Jiaze said.
Forty-two bald heads with the same attire walked into the zoo mightily. Under the attention of the tourists, they came to the plain-looking two-storey white building. Duan Jiaze was already waiting on the first floor.
Forty-two people came from different monasteries. Since Su Xiang belonged to the Wuliang Temple, he had more superiority than others as he went forward to report to Duan Jiaze, “Director Duan, I am Su Xiang from the Wuliang Temple. The forty-two volunteers are all present.”
“Good.” Duan Jiaze smiled at him and said, “The next year will be hard work for everyone. I am Duan Jiaze, the director of Ling You Zoo. I believe your seniors have taught you the basic rules here, so I won’t be sharing too much nonsense. Next, I’ll take everyone to the accommodation to put your luggages. We’ll talk as we walk.”
Some of those people who were even older than Duan Jiaze, but they were respectful to Duan Jiaze. Naturally, they had been educated. Since they arrived, they must have a good attitude, especially to the director, because that might be their key to gain more chances.
Duan Jiaze rented a bus and drove the group to the village, “Please register later on what kind of work transport you will be using, such as bicycles, motorcycles, etc. After buying the transport vehicle, your units will be reimbursed.”
There was still some distance to the village from there. If they walked, it would take too long to go to work every day. However, they had an entire temple behind their backs, so they need not care about the cost of those heavy expenses.
In the bus, there would naturally be people calmly and quietly getting closer to Duan Jiaze.
Therefore, Duan Jiaze seemed to know accidentally that XX actually became a monk after graduating from a key university, majoring in business. If he had any related questions, he could inquire him. He knew another XX had been trained in the new X party and could help with cooking. XX was a veterinarian at home, and he could also be a guest veterinarian…
“You graduated from the Buddhist academy? What courses do you have at the Buddhist academy?” Duan Jiaze chatted with them happily to find out what skills they had, and to facilitate future management and assignment of tasks.
A junior in Du’e Temple, who was only twenty-four or five years old, had the talent for cultivation, but he was really not good at social skills.
He watched one or two seniors both started a conversation with Duan Jiaze. Thinking about how he grew up in a monastery, he neither went for university, nor did he have family members. He had no special skills as well. In a hurry, he said, “Director, I… I’ve learned Kung Fu since childhood. If there are any occasions that needed a hand, just let me do it!”
Duan Jiaze: “…”
Duan Jiaze: “Little Master, we are a legit zoo.”
If they had something, they would call the police. There were dogs in the zoo too. Hey, you people, just by standing, you have already scared the girl at the ticket office. Do you really want to make a move?
Duan Jiaze looked at the little master in distress, and comforted him, “Don’t be depressed. If there are tourists making trouble, we still need you. By the way, what’s your name?”
The little monk said shyly, “My name is Guang Ming.”
Duan Jiaze: “How about your original name?”
The little monk shook his head, “I am an orphan, and I don’t have an original name. This name is also on my identification card. Master asked me to pick one by myself, but I haven’t figured it out yet…”
“Ah…” Duan Jiaze felt uncomfortable and said, “It’s fine, then it doesn’t matter whether you want it or not. There is no need to make up a name specifically, we’ll just call you Xiao(Little) Ming.”
Xiao Ming glanced at Duan Jiaze gratefully, “Thank you, Director.”
“What are you thanking for? Let’s go.” Duan Jiaze saw that the bus had also arrived, and took everyone out of the bus.
Duan Jiaze let them choose their own roommates. Each household probably had only four or five people. Those monks came together along the way, so they knew a little bit about each other or even separated because of the temple they belonged to. Therefore, Duan Jiaze did not make roommate arrangements, but let them form groups by themselves.
Those monks really knew everything in their minds. They each formed a good team, and they did not take long before coming back.
By the way, there was another strict requirement for them to stay there, that was, they must not preach to the villagers, even if those villagers might not believe in any religion, including Taoism. Since no one in Ling You kept an eye on them at that point, they would still watch each other.
After setting their luggage down, Duan Jiaze took them back to Ling You and asked everyone to register their personal information.
Huang Qi also handed over the schedule, followed by the division of each person’s position, “This is temporary, and it will be adjusted according to everyone’s performance in the work. Some positions are also mobile.”
Duan Jiaze added, “We will adopt a system of main and deputy shifts. With a group of two, you will be taking turns on the main shift. You need to be on your posts at any time. The ones on deputy shifts are free to move around, but you must return to your posts when needed.”
The so-called free move-around meant that they were allowed to cultivate.
Originally, Ling You Zoo was understaffed and needed to hire temporary workers every weekend. Now that the group of people were there, all worries were lost instantly. In the future, there would be no need to hire extra people on holidays and weekends, and there would even be surplus staff.
The monks had no opinion either. They knew what they needed to do before they came, and silently wrote down their jobs.
Duan Jiaze turned on the phone, and he tapped to claim the reward for the previous task. The construction team of the aquarium was on the way. Now, he was a little looking forward to the new task and was dying to know what it was. Therefore, as soon as he received the forty-two monks, he turned on the phone again to see if a mission was issued.
The new task was really released, so he tapped to open:
Task description: Please complete the following two items within six months.
First, introduce more than fifty species and more than two thousand marine fish or beasts, and more than forty species of one thousand freshwater ornamental fish. Open the aquarium to public.
Second, become one of the city-level landmark attractions. This goal is achieved by the recognition of East Sea citizens. The current recognition is (52/100).
Task reward: Six months of high-grade animal feed for the whole zoo. Animal therapy technique (single release/release five times a day). A five-storey science education hall covering an area of fifteen acres.
Duan Jiaze sighed and slowly adjusted his mood.
The content of the tasks had changed. The first one was not unexpected to Duan Jiaze. In order to be wary of that, Duan Jiaze was actually planning to adjust the ticket price to obtain more funds.
The ticket price of Ling You Zoo was twenty before. Now, the area had been expanded and many new animals had been introduced, so the adjustment was reasonable. It was planned to be adjusted to about thirty. The flow of people had increased several times and had reached the daily limit. There were more than five hundred people on average, and the maximum number of people visiting on two days on weekends was about four thousand.
When the aquarium opened in the future, he would definitely sell a separate ticket.
In fact, the tourist service center had a lot of income. Many tourists who came would buy water and snacks.
If those profits were not enough at present, Duan Jiaze had already decided that he could use the new building to borrow more money from the bank. That time, he could borrow more, and his repayment ability had been improved a lot.
As for the content of the second task, Duan Jiaze did not find it difficult either. Without seeing their initial recognition, it was already more than half, which must have been caused by various propagandas since the opening of the zoo.
Now, most citizens of East Sea City, at least the citizens of the city, whether they had been there or not, knew that Ling You Zoo existed. According to that progress, it was not a problem to complete within the time period.
Duan Jiaze had even thought that if there was an upgraded version of the task, such as gaining recognition in the province or even in the country, there was no problem, because they were already prepared for the long run.
——Those free advertisements and publicity activities on the Internet were laying a solid foundation.
Therefore, Duan Jiaze did not feel particularly pressured that time. He was confident to complete them.
Besides, as for the rewards, the animals in the zoo were currently in good condition because they ate high-quality feed. If there was trauma, they would contact the veterinarian for treatment, and the amount of occurrence was small. Therefore, they would only have cooperative veterinary hospitals and not regularly hiring veterinarians.
Although Duan Jiaze was already planning to hire from other places—— There were not many talents in East Sea City, but the treatment technique was still very good. However, the popular science education museum could also attract more school administrations and students to visit. The overall reward was satisfactory.
In the evening, Duan Jiaze raised his head and walked into the lounge. Others still found it strange. That day should be the day when new tasks were issued, so why didn’t the director of the zoo become dejected?
You Su: “Director, what task did you receive today?”
Duan Jiaze took out his phone and read it to them.
You Su heard the number and laughed, “Director has really grown. You don’t cry anymore.”
Luya said with a faint smile, “He likes to raise fish. He is happy to raise so many fish, so what’s the point of crying?”
As for the fish in the aquarium in Ling You, since the moment he just bought it, none of them have died yet. Duan Jiaze could never be more confident about raising fish. Although he had never raised so many fish, he still had to raise them.
Duan Jiaze chuckled, “It’s mainly because I think… why not I’ll just go to the East Sea to fish for some fish.”
Xiao Qing whispered, “It’s not easy to learn well, but when you fail to learn, you slip away…”
At that time, Duan Jiaze’s phone lit up, and he switched it on. It turned out that Project Hope’s APP sent a message:
Dispatched animals: 2. Status: On the way.
The next day, the villagers living nearby and the citizens who came to climb the mountain near the zoo were fortunate to witness that scene:
A bus came from a distance and stopped at the gate of Ling You Zoo. From there, more than forty young bald men, all wearing uniform clothes, came over early in the morning and entered the zoo without buying a ticket. They looked very suspicious as they did not seem like tourists at all.
A kind-hearted old man remembered the recent news reports that some members of the society were asking for “protection fees”. From a distance, those suspected-to-be-prisoners went in with a murderous manner. He took out his cell phone worriedly and dialled the number of the local police station.