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Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation Inc Breeding Centre
The Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation Inc Breeding Centre is Located on the outskirts of Bacolod City in Negros Occidental in the Philippines. The support for this important NGO collection is from external funding.
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.
Visayan Spotted Deer
Because we were early we contacted Leo and arranged to visit the 'Negros Forests & Ecological Foundation Inc (NFEFI) Breeding Centre' today. Time is a bit tight and I was anxious to move on to the South and Dumaguete the next day.
Leo Suarez was busy in the morning but arranged for us to meet up with he and Cristina Georgii above Bo's Coffee House after lunch. In the meantime Gloria and I walked around the town. A lot of poverty here. The place describes itself as the 'Town of Smiles' and it is. The people were very friendly. Gloria was in a bit of a quandary because the language was different and she couldn't understand what anyone was saying.
Early afternoon we started walking out towards Bo's. It began to rain so we caught a jeepney. It really rained. At our destination we had to wade across the road and into shelter. Leo and Cris turned out to be some of the nicest, enthusiastic and committed people that I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They had spent the morning with students and teachers from Manila and were busy eating with them. We planned to head out to the centre once the rain stopped. It didn't, it got heavier and heavier. Nothing lost nothing gained so we stopped a jeepney and all squeezed in.
Philippine Sailfin Lizard
The 'Negros Forests & Ecological Foundation Inc (NFEFI) Breeding Centre' was a big surprise. I had imagined it to be some way out of town and also to be so much bigger than it was. No matter though because, simple as it was, this little place has shot into the top ten of all the collections I have visited anywhere and into number one slot for the Philippines.
It continued to rain heavily during the early stages of our visit. This confined us to the very simple education centre where we were lucky enough to be treated to short interesting presentations by Leo, Cristi and a couple of the keepers.
A gap in the rain meant we were able to tour the collection. I am not saying it was without faults, what place is? But this remarkable little establishment was actively fulfilling the role of conservation and education. It was co-operating, it was enriching....it was interesting and being novel in the area I daresay entertaining too. There is no free access to the centre, all tours are guided, ensuring that visitors do learn something during their visit.
This collection is devoted to the Fauna of the Philippines. Breeding has been so successful that in many cases it has ceased. Sensible in view of the limited space and that there are so few places that stock can go. The enclosures were well constructed and all the animals looked healthy. Here we saw the Visayan Tarictic Hornbill, the Mindanao Wreathed Hornbill, Visayan Warty Pigs, Philippine Sailfin Lizard, Visayan Spotted Deer, Visayan Bleeding Heart Pigeon, Philippine Eagle Owl and more. I thought the deer could have benefited from more room but space is limited here. The Visayan Leopard Cats were really tiny compared to the Hong Kong animals we saw at Kadoorie.
I was interested to note that all the international support they have received here is recognised and neat colourful little signs put up around the grounds. It is on the subject of signs that, in my opinion is the collections main let down. There are not enough of them, they don't stand out and give very scant information. There are only 17 or so species here. Cash is short in the collection. This would be an absolutely fantastic opportunity for a wealthier (Western?) collection to make a really useful contribution. New signs! Think about it. Some already help but a little bit more money could only help.
Apart from anything else it would allow you to fulfil some of your own zoo criteria, your raison d'être. I really liked this place.....well worth a visit. Worth establishing a link too. Any financial contributions would be extremely helpful. I think what people fail to realise is how little can make a difference here....$50 or £50 or €50 really can help. More is better of course but the excuse of not having the cash to spare just does not ring true with amounts like these.
Monday 19th February 2007
A coffee 'hit' in the morning has almost become ....
Bleeding Heart Pigeon
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