130-year-old tree removed from Botanical Gardens (Updated)

GEORGE TOWN: Time finally caught up with a 130-year-old raintree as it was removed from the entrance of the Penang Botanical Gardens today morning.

The dead tree had to be removed for fear of it toppling over and falling on visitors to the popular recreational area.

Workers started the process about 10am where the branches of the tree was first sawed off and removed with the help of a crane.

They then proceeded to cut the trunk which was then loaded unto a lorry and taken to be placed outside the Gardens office nearby as a memento.

The work to remove the tree took about three hours to finish and the area was cordoned off for safety.

Many visitors were seen hugging the tree as a way of saying goodbye before the removal process began while some took pictures.

Ang Kean Beng, 35, said the tree, planted in 1887 by the British colonial government, possessed heritage value.

"It needs to be removed to prevent anything untoward from happening," he nonetheless said.

Gardens curator Saw Seng Guan said the removal went on smoothly but declined to reveal the cost.

"Everything is going smoothly," he told theSun.

Saw said the branches and trunk was to be removed while the root portion had to be dug out.

"The removal of this was scheduled soon as a special tool needs to be used," he added.

The raintree is one of 20 trees planted to commemorate the birthday of Queen Victoria and was the only one left until today.