D'Family Park Zoo in Cebu City

The D'Family Park Zoo is located in Nasipit, Talambam in Cebu City on the island of Cebu in the Philippines.

The Park opened for the first time in 1993 and offers a variety of activities including a swimming pool, picnic site, childrens playground and what they claim to be a 'mini zoo and wildlife sanctuary'. The Park opens early. From 05.00 and stays open till 21.00 hrs.

One of my aims when visiting Cebu City in the Philippines was to visit Cebu City Zoo. I cannot say that I had heard very good things about it but I was still interested to see for myself. I was then disappointed to learn that the collection had been so bad that it had been closed down and the animals moved to a 'rescue centre'. A little detective work and we found where this was.

Though my visit was in 2007 and the Cebu City Zoo was no more it began to be resurrected sometime later till, in January 2009 it housed some 22 animals, including a Bengal tiger. Whether some of these had been 'rescued' from D'Family Park is unclear. There was talk of the transfer of two pairs of bearded pigs, six bay cats Catopuma badia*, and two pairs of sea eagles plus a capital injection. In September 2009 the management of the 'new' Cebu City Zoo was offered to the highest bidder which must be amongst the very worst ways by which zoo management should be determined.

This is one of a series of zoo reports that was actually included within my travel journal ‘The Itinerant ZooKeeper’. Initially I started to extract the zoo data but found the reading was diminished by it. So look on it as a zoo travelogue. The only major edits I have done is a little censoring and to remove the Casanova exploits.

* If true then the Bay Cats would be especially exciting news.

Tiger in Cebu City Zoo

Saturday 24th February 2007
A little research on the internet yielded the information that some of the animals from the very recently closed Cebu City Zoo had gone to the mini-zoo in the D'Family Park at Barangay in Talambam, Cebu City.

This was only a quick, 8 pesos ride in a jeepney from our hotel. Entry to the park was 20 Pesos each. The zoo was situated right next to or almost in the Children's Playground and games field. A sign at the entrance said

"Mini-zoo 'A Wildlife Rescue Center' - In co-operation with DENR-VII"

I haven't a clue what VII means but if DENR stands for Department for Environment and Natural Resources then they should be ashamed of themselves.


I have visited far worse collections mind you. In its favour I will say it was clean, there were some barriers and some signs and even a little bit of supervision. No, sorry, that's it, I can't think of another good thing to say. Perhaps it is me. Gloria said "It is nice...no?" which launched me off into a flood of things that were wrong. This is though one of those places where things are wrong out of ignorance and/or lack of funds rather than by way of cruelty or not caring.

Where would these animals end up otherwise? Made me think though. How bad must Cebu City zoo must have been? Here all the caging was inadequate in particular that for the primates and most definitely so for the poor little Palm Civets. One decent cage? No there was not one...but they were clean. Enrichment?....forget it. Perching....now there's a laugh. Cage furniture?...you must be joking. Yet the stock looked, for the most part, physically healthy. I am pretty sure they weren't mentally all there though.


Bornean Bay Cat


There was not a lot to be seen so I will partially list : 22 Philippine Brown Deer Cervus philippinus or is that mariannus? in 6 enclosures, 4 Hornbills of 3 species which included Rufous Buceros hydrocorax and Penelopes panini, a Barred Honey Buzzard Pernis celebensis, Philippine Grass Owls, Large-Billed Crows Corvus macrorhynchos philippensis, a Rufous Night Heron, 3 Monitor Lizards, a Reticulated Python, 7 Brahminy Kite, 1 unidentified bird of prey, 5 Civets in four horrible useless cages, two Greater Mynah identified as Acridotheres cristatellus which they weren't at all. Lots of local macaques in a progression of really terrible little cages, some singly, some in little groups. The biggest and most adequate cage here was a primate one but held just a single animal, a big Celebes macaque. There were no lock off facilities so one was inclined to wonder about keeper safety.
And there was a Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor which I thought was unusual. I couldn't think where I had actually seen one before.

You can read more about Zoos by reading my Zoo Hubs where you will find other information and zoo reports listed. Please also check out my blog Zoo News Digest.


WHY NOT WRITE YOUR OWN HUB PAGE? It is free to join and sign up. Write about what you know and start earning money. Free money, for you, forever. Learn how by visiting THE QUICK GUIDE TO HUB CONSTRUCTION

Deer enclosure in D'Family Park Zoo

More by this Author

Comments 12 comments

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

I've never seen a tiger with such a long face! The conditions there must be THAT BAD. I'm sorry to hear of such despicable conditions, Peter. I wonder how much the Zoo was bought for anyway...

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia Author

I don't think the zoo was bought as such Dohn, just the rights to operate it. Selling tickets and ice cream. It is not the way forward. Tigers don't smile all the time...even the happy ones ;-)

bingskee profile image

bingskee 7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

Peter, I feel very sad that the zoo parks here in the Philippines were not supervised as they should be. There were a few which can pass as good but there are really no zoo parks that I know that are tended according to standards. Well, what can we expect of gloria? Her government had even failed to attend to the needs of the highest forms of mammals which she calls constituents.

LizzyBoo profile image

LizzyBoo 7 years ago from Czech Republic

Not every ZOO is a perfect place, not every ZOO is a happy place for animals.

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia Author

LizzyBoo - You are so right...but they all could be with a little effort, training, knowledge and cash.

LizzyBoo profile image

LizzyBoo 7 years ago from Czech Republic

That is correct indeed. I have seen a few places, not even a ZOO, where animals suffer. Especially in Thailand, the tigers farm. I have some pictures home with a chained tigers, or the crocodile farm. What a shamme that those places profits from those poor animals.

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia Author

You are right LizzyBoo. I have lived in Thailand the past few years and have written hubs on these places and continue to do so.

LizzyBoo profile image

LizzyBoo 7 years ago from Czech Republic

I know Peter that is why I like your hubs so much. I might even writte about Thailand from a non expert perspective. lol

boris 7 years ago

Really nice post - I like animals.

The "Bornean Bay Cat" - is very interesting.

But I don't think that is good for the animal to live in zoo.

It's better to make a reserve - they will feel much better!

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia Author

If they really do have Bornean Bay Cats then they definitely need protection.

cebukurt 6 years ago

The "VII" actually refers to the political region in the Philippines where cebu is located. And you should try to check out avilon zoo.

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

cebukurt - thank you for the explanation. Actually I have visited Avilon Zoo twice and have an article in preparation.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article