Archive for philippine animals

(lg2a) arks

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, letsgopinas goes to america, locales, nature, news, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2010 by mijodo

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26

Apparently, the Almighty has tasked his minions somewhat cumbersome set of responsibilities, caring for all organisims, roaming and swimming in the face of the earth. It was the old man Noah who was the first to fulfill such duty among the distinguished people of the Bible.  Although it could be argued that the Lord had to do some heavy prompting to Noah so that he and his family could bring along a male and a female of every animal species for eventual breeding and propagation , and be quartered in a large ark throughout the big flood.

In modern times, zoos can be considered akin to the Ark of Noah.  They are repositories of the most common to the most exotic and possibly, those in danger of declining population from kingdom animalia. However in recent years, zoos or even animal parks may have losing public relation points, particularly from animal right groups. These activiest see enclosures as places for restrained abuse and maltreatment despite the zoos’ initial purposes as innocuous public displays of menagerie for the curious and the animal enthusiasts – including kids.

Just this summer, my cousin, Al Depakakibo and his wife, Gisella, together with the kids and I strolled inl Detroit Zoo, here in Michigan. I got to see some creatures  – lemurs, otters, even kangaroos (loaned in by an Australian city zoo) which I have never seen in Manila or other city zoos I have been to in Asia.  I missed out on the polar bear and even the elephants which Detroit Zoo happens not to have at all (another cousin remarked that at least Manila Zoo has one).

All in all, Detroit Zoo seems to be just like any other zoo or wildlife park in any other city – a seemingly safe haven for animals to stay in for those endemic to the place or for those visiting on exhibit. Apparently, those touring kangaroos and other Australian domestic animals made me think about those giraffes, impalas, gazelles, zebras and other wildlife probably roaming and wandering about in the large expanse of Calauit Island in Palawan.

Apparently, such wildlife species have been token gifts by the Kenyan Government in the 70s when Ferdinand and his wife, Imelda were still in power.   Immediately, Calauit in Busuanga was deemed game preserve for these animals, together with species, original to the Philippines like anteaters, mongoose, Palawan monkeys, and bearcats.

The grazing animals seem to favor the rolling hills and plains, with plenty of warm weather. The Calauit Island Park’s attraction  was to become for the exclusively enjoyment of the family and friends of the Marcoses – a seeming safari for the Philippine elite. From a hundred or so heads, the population dramatically increased to some thousands, thus such animals running, travelling, moving together can be a sight to behold within that 3700 hectare area.

At the moment, ordinary tourists can now flock to the wildlife park, and is part of Palawan Island’s must-see.  After the Marcos era, the Calauit Island Sanctuary seems to be surviving although some years back a tv documentary revealed that mismanagement may have caused the marked depletion of the number of animals, and possible endangering the survival of the park itself.  Overpopulation and food scarcity for many of these grazing animals took a toll on the Calauit Preserve. On top of this, only one person did all the work for the whole area as there were no funds to hire more laborers and veterinarians!

I am not quite sure if such problems do exist at present. But by the looks of it, Calauit Park and its wild inhabitants are far from instinction. God and Noah should be quite pleased.

bless the beasts and their patron

Posted in artifacts, events, health, locales, nature, people, travel with tags , , , , , , on July 10, 2009 by mijodo


mini horses grazing at the grass

A fifteen-month old Asian Tiger named Kiara by her loneself leisurely prances back and forth in the almost three hundred square foot cage in the midday heat. She occasionally  breaks from the walking motion and gives a yawn, signifying satisfaction of the hearty lunch of beef and chicken she just had.

Then a man gingerly approached the side section of the cage and gets the tiger’s attention. “Kiara,” he  hollers as he puts out his arm inside the enclosure, ordering the tiger to come near him. Without hesitation, the tiger slowly treads toward the man, and allows the person to pat her head. “This is Kiara,” he introduces. Next the tiger just sits the steel bar partition as if wanting more affection from the man who is just too happy to give her even more.

– “Tale of the Tiger Tamer,” Success Unlimited Magazine, 2002

It has been a long time since that encounter where I had witnessed and had written for the defunct magazine, Success Unlimited. And just recently, I have come to see again the love and devotion of Ex-Governor Chavit Singson with his menagarie of animals in his home province of Ilocos Sur, particularly in his mini-zoo in Baluarte, just 10 minute tricyle drive away from Vigan.

Somehow, unlike the sorry state of animal affairs in Manila Zoo, the tigers and his other collection of beasts and birds are heftier, more alive and alert. Perhaps, it can be said that these creatures are better taken care of, and healthier. In fact some of these animals have been tagged to electronically track their whereabouts. Thus it would be easier for veterinarians and staff  to give the proper nutrition and sustenance to each animal. 

The white deer, the camels, the cute miniature horses graze on the grass and herbage that grow on a significant portion of land, without the confining steel bars that are familiar in zoos. Thus there can be some fine interaction between such benign animals and the people who are just too eager to oblige some petting on such beings.

Visitors should enjoy the carriage ride, propelled by the mini-horses imported from Australia, around the circular track. Children would have a grand time watching scheduled mini-shows of tigers, lions, and talking parrots and parakeets. And, somehow people will get amazed by those dinosaur statues in a section of the zoo. It can be reminiscent of the scenes from the movie series, Jurassic Park. Best of all, everyone can enjoy such simple joys for free.

The animals of Baluarte, including Kiara, should give thanks to their patron, Chavit Singson, for making their existence happy. Visitors should thank Chavit Singson for making them happy too, particularly that admission is free. On the other hand, Chavit Singson should thank his collection and the people for making him happy as well – as all animals and visitors are truly happy and have appreciated his herculean effort for his project – Baluarte.