Davao Crocodile Park Roadshow

Davao Crocodile Park Roadshow

It was almost a year before that I had planned to visit the Davao Crocodile Park Roadshow but it was raining heavily so I gave it a miss. When it rains in Manila in the Philippines it really rains.

My next chance of a visit was November 2008. I jumped at it. The place had been in operation for nearly a year. Plenty of time to get established, to iron out the wrinkles, to be organised.

I had previously visited the actual Davao Crocodile Park in Mindanao. As a collection it has many faults but in terms of Philippine animal collections the Park is not too bad. I was then, expecting good things from their Roadshow.

I admit to having a little bit of a worry because a roadshow to me means something short term. Almost circus-like. Here today and gone tomorrow.

 

Location

The Roadshow is located in Boom na Boom in Pasay and just behind Star City. It gets good publicity from the paintings on the exterior wall facing Roxas Boulevard. The Boulevard is always busy with slow moving traffic and so in terms of advertising everyone in Manila knows where it is.

It does not look much from the outside

It does not look much from the outside and unsurprisingly it does not look like much from the inside either.

I was struck immediately by the similarities between this place and the infamous Scarborough Zoo. Scarborough was chucked together on some old Tennis Courts. Covered in brightly coloured paint and then some flunky running around with a microphone giving so called 'Educational' talks. Touch the animals...get photo with the animals...watch the show!

 

The Point

The point is, it is all pretence. There is really no care or concern for the animals at all. This place is out to make a fast buck. No more, no less. Their website is good. It talks of "working with nature for a better future". A better future for who I might ask...certainly not the animals.

This place IS making money. It was packed with school kids and evidence suggests that this is an everyday mid week activity. I am told it gets really busy at the weekend. So where is the money going? It is definitely not being spent here and I very much doubt that more than 20 Pesos has been spent on upkeep since the place was opened.

The Evil Philippine Dog Cage

This is meant to be a professional operation. I cannot argue that the Spiel was entertaining but it was hardly educational. I mean is it really necessary to poke crocodiles to get them to move? I mean IS IT REALLY? And what is the point of a tightrope walk over a pool full of crocodiles? Entertaining yes...and I think zoos MUST be entertaining but this is the way backward not forward. And tripping around a pen being chased by young Crocs was 'amusing' too but hardly educational. Maybe if there was one trip too many!

Crocodiles....they don't need too much. Water and somewhere to bask. But if there is no shade the water needs to be deep enough to get away from the harsh midday sun. There was no shade. It slighly bothers me that one of the nicest crocodile pens I have seen anywhere was at the mother collection in Mindanao...they KNOW what is right.

There was shade for the other unfortunate creatures...but stuck as per usual in The Evil Philippine Dog Cage sort of set up. People can get all around. Very very bad.

If this place was ten times better

If this place was ten times better than it presently is it still would not have a cat in hells chance of passing a UK Zoo Inspection.

If you visit Manila...give it a miss or go and complain. Manila Zoo often gets bad press but is a glowing example by comparison.

The saddest thing of all is that the Davao Crocodile Park Roadshow thinks it is good. It isn't! It could be....but it isn't!

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Comments 7 comments

Ralf Sommerlad 7 years ago

Yeah, road shows like this are very special and mostly bad attractions.

But we in Europe also allow reptile road shows mit photo opportunities, swimming with alligators-attractions ( www.http://www.alligatore.de/html/individual-veranstal... ) small circuses with similar collections on exhibit, so its hard for me to critisize anything like that in the Philippines.

Travel safely

Ralf


Ray Cimino 7 years ago

Unless we criticise what is on our own doorstep I agree Ralf that it can seem impertinent to criticise zoos/roadshows/circuses in much poorer countries. I am not familiar with the alligator attraction you mention, but note that it is a .de address, so assume it is 'local' to you. So what are you doing about it?!?

Peter, have you tried any approaches to local or national governments over there to offer your expertise in devising new strategies for dealing with sub-sub standard exhibitions? Or is there just no interest? Would be curious to hear if you have.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thanks Ralf and Ray,

I make no real distinction between what part of the world a collection is in in other than that I now understand there is a difference in perception of good and bad. What is considered cruel in the West is not looked at in the same way. Culture, Religion, History, Upbringing and more have played their part. Previously I have written up my reports in my Travel Journal and even with that limited, though International zoo readership my remarks have done some good. The journal though is a bit 'here today, gone tomorrow' and so I am trying a new approach. It does not matter where I am, I give praise where it is deserved and I condemn when it is needed too. I have been in this business long enough now to see 'beyond the veil'.

I do speak to some zoo staff and occassionally am asked to contribute suggestions and ideas...and I do...mostly it is a waste of time. I have made a really big difference in some instances though which I suppose is my spur to continue. My honest opinion has made me 'persona non grata' in other quarters. I don't expect that this report will make me too popular either.

The 'Swimming With Alligators' is one of the most stupid practices I have ever come across and I remarked on this in a recent ZooNews Digest.

Best Wishes,

Peter


Ray Cimino 7 years ago

The sad reality is that there will always be more people willing to exploit animals to make a buck then people willing to help animals and maybe at best make 50 cent, but more usually about 5 cent.


kim 6 years ago

you know i totally agrre with everything you just said. its a bit embarrasing because im a filipino and this stupidity is because of us filipinos i saw this page while researching for this roadshow.why? because its a project.. for our firldtrip.. we went there last month.. sept.11 .it was awful. really awful. i would realy die if i were on the animals situation.. i can feel it .. they are nit given love and devotion. :(


neil 6 years ago

were they really swimming with the alligators..dont think so...and what was the real purpose of the establishments?...business...it is intended to be a "zoo" in its old meaning way.? they werent exploited..as a matter of fact..they have been given comfort...instead living outside where competition is very harsh and the possibility of being eaten by larger predators or even humans..

have u read the book "life of pie"...

pls do read it...so you have a glimpse of why they are kept in there...


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Neil - you are getting confused. Yes...there is a place in EUROPE where they swim with alligators. Stupid idea.

The Davao Crocodile road show is a cruel, exploitative, money making venture.

Yes I have read the fictional novel 'Life of Pi'. Fiction, but good fiction.

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