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.
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 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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