What is a More Animal Friendly Zoo? PARADIZOO
More like an animal friendly ranch than a zoo
Animal friendly zoos are trending
I’ve always loved zoos, from the Manila Zoo of my childhood, to the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC, the San Diego Zoo in California and the Singapore Zoo (and it’s bird zoo, too). But of late, I’ve noticed a pleasant, new trend in zoos. They are less zoo-ish, and more animal focused.
I first realized this when I visited the Corella zoo for tarsiers. We were told beforehand not to touch the tarsiers and to speak softly. Knowing how to behave when in their company made me feel closer to these sensitive creatures and privileged to walk among them.
Hey cow, I see you now
An Animal and Nature Focused Farm
Paradizoo is similarly animal and environmentally friendly. Its 11- hectare expanse resembles a farm, not a zoo. Ducks walked about freely, or swam in a lake. Turkeys and chickens would wander into a restaurant if people were eating, hoping for a nibble. A mongrel dog was perfectly comfortable fleeting through the zoo among animals large and small.
An agritech farm
Paradizoo, owned by Zoomanity Group (under the Yupangco Group of Companies) is an Agritech project. It advocates clean vegetable farming practices, water management and irrigation. It also has lovely flowers, plants and trees. In all, Paradizoo advance the “Reuse-Reduce-Recycle-Refuse-Respect” principle.
Chandelier made of used plastic cups
We fell in love with the ostrich, which ate seed straight from the palm of our hands. Its beak had force, but no pain and the bond we felt to this marvelous bird was unmistakable.
We also saw an albino carabao, llamas, an alpaca, wagyu buffalo, cows, a five-legged bull named Voltes 5, beautiful and stately horses, a wild boar (that they tamed), and camels. The animals gathered towards people. Two camels spotted us from afar and walked slowly and gracefully our way. We fed them grass that we purchased for just P30.
Hubby and I with one of the horses
Smaller animals, insects
The smaller animals included deer, boer goats, Saanen goats (from the Saanen valley of Switzerland), various types of sheep, rabbits, and pigs. You could milk a goat for a fee or help to shear a sheep.
Finally, there was a honeybee farm and a butterfly garden. We were given a lecture about bees and their role in the environment, and viewed their honeycomb. In the butterfly garden we were amazed at the huge, black and white butterflies around us. A part of me hoped a butterfly would land on me. No luck.
Sample for the butterfly farm
Paradizoo has a lovely flower farm which is outstanding because of the way the flowers are arranged, and the overage of colors. The flowers included the most popular flowers in the Philippines – Dona Aurora, Scarlet Beauty, Purple Crumble, Forget-me-nots, Dona Luz, Hibiscus and many others.
It was nice to know that our own local flowers could be a source of so much color and beauty. One plant of interest was the Mickey Mouse flower which sprouts ears like Mickey. It is more commonly called the Nipplefruit. There is also an African Tulip tree that sprouts amazing flowers on top.
Mickey Mouse Plant
There is also a “Love Motel” built to resemble Noah’s Ark, where animals can mate. Sometimes, they mate two different animals, which will result in a hybrid. This is the way tiny horses (knee high when fully grown) are made. A small horse sells for some P600,000.
For animals that have died, there is a pet cemetery open to the public -- the first of its kind. can We saw several names of different animals, including Brownie, Cathy, Flappy, Fluffy, Jeje, Karay, Boggs, Mike, and Jinggoy.
Love Motel for Animals
Wake up with the animals
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to wake up in a zoo? I remember reading an article about a couple that did precisely that, in another country. Now, you can do it in the Philippines, too. They have bunkbeds with a bathroom and shower in a container van, and a larger log cabin for families. The price is quite good. It feels good to know that if ever we wanted to sleep with the animals, we have that option very easily, at hand.