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Dumaguete zoo

Updated on July 16, 2011

The Dumaguete Zoo can be found on the isand of Negros Oriental and just a short walk outside of the coastal city of Dumaguete. The zoo is part of the Illiman University on whose campus the zoo is located. The zoo is funded by the university and managed by the Centre for Tropical Conservation Studies (Centrop) and like other animal related collections in the Philippines it comes quite low down in the list of priorities. The zoo is not well signposted and is quite difficult to find. It is likely that many locals do not know of the existence of the place.

The zoo has no connection with the close by Zoo Paradise World or the Animal Foundation Inc.

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.

Raised Walkway through Dumaguete Zoo

Tuesday 20th February 2007

Dumaguete turned out to be a pleasant little town. We were not seeing it at its best with all the extra people complicated by major roadwork's. We decided to book our ferry to Siquijor for this afternoon.

We met up with Emilia Lastica at the University Breeding Centre (Dumaguete zoo) . Restricted for space (just 9,000 square metres) like the collection in Bacolod but with less financial support they have nonetheless made and continue to make a positive contribution to grass roots conservation.

The collection specialises in endemic Philippine Fauna and the species maintained includes the Philippine Spotted Deer Cervus alfredi , Visayan Warty Pig Sus cebifrons , Philippine Crocodile Crocodylus mindorensis and the Bleeding Heart Pigeon Gallicolumba keayi amongst others.

Emilia knows exactly what the weaknesses are here and what could or should be done to rectify the situation. Sadly it always comes down to money in the end. As in Bacolod breeding is not taking place because there just is nowhere else at present to send the valuable and important progeny. Building more enclosures is not a viable financial option. The other problem here is that the centre acts as an unofficial rescue centre for animals which they are not really in a position to house or maintain. I admire the responsible attitude taken by the collection. Some zoos will simply breed and then sell or send the progeny just anywhere.

In spite of its failings this is a collection with its heart in the right place. Given a free hand and a little bit of cash I am sure Emilia could transform the place. Lovely girl too. It was nice to chat over coffee. It would have been nice to have more time but Emilia had to travel north in the afternoon and we had a ferry to catch.

Visayan Warty Pig

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After a snack lunch we caught the fast ferry to Siquijor pronounced 'sickie whore'. This little island, famous for its witches, warlocks, wizards and healers is actually the reason we are down this end of the Philippines. A month ago whilst browsing through the index of 'Lonely
Planet' I saw reference to 'Dacanay cave'. As Dacanay is Gloria's second name this intrigued me and I felt that we should visit. The witch connection makes this little island something of a place of fear to many Filipinos who will not venture anywhere near the place. Indeed a couple of years later I was on a nearby island with Monika. I suggested we used Siquijor as a jumping off place as we ventured north from Mindanao. There was no way on earth I could persuade her to go.

On our arrival on the island we were met by the news that the owner of the place we were going to stay had died and it had closed down. There isn't a great deal of choice here and our first alternative was fully booked....starting to get anxious. The second had one bungalow
available so here we are staying in the most expen......


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Luzon Bleeding Heart Pigeon

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Submit a Comment

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

    Hi Emilia,

    I just went through the article to see where I spelt your name wrong. Could not see it...only in your comment and sorry I cannot change that.

    Thank you for the update on the Conservation Programme.

    I hope you are doing well.

  • profile image

    em lastica 8 years ago

    Hello Peter! Please correct my name: it's Emilia Lastica.

    The Negros Bleeding Heart, Visayan Warty Pig, Visayan Tarictic Hornbill and Philippine Spotted Deer projects are all under the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Programme, formerly under FFI - Philippines but now under the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. The same foundation has an education component and works closely with organisations working in-situ.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

    The 'brothel' connection actually passed through my mind too. Actually it turned out to be a very nice place. Never saw a witch but I did go deep into a cave. Warty Pigs are special. Thanks Dohn.

  • dohn121 profile image

    dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

    Both the Bleeding Heart Pigeon and the Visayan Warty Pig seem like fascinating creatures, Peter. Sickle Whore? Sounds a bit like a dangerous brothel! I take it it's a Filipino name.