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Palawan Crocodile Farm and Conservation Centre
The Palawan Crocodile Farm and Conservation Centre is also known as the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Centre. It really depends which sign you see or leaflet you read. Whatever, it is all of these things. The collection first opened its doors to visitors in 1987.
Located a half hour drive out from the centre of Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan in the Philippines the Palawan Crocodile Farm and Conservation Centre is a popular attraction with tourists. As such it is very much a commercial venture and apart from breeding crocodiles it is doubtful whether it plays much of a conservation role...though it does educate.
Opening times are a bit erratic and the collection does close for lunch so it is probably better to check and plan your visit ahead.
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.
Palawan Wildlife and Nature Park - part 1
22nd August 2007
I'm not sure what came first here, the Crocodile Farm or the Conservation Centre. Perhaps they were always next door to each other and merged recently. We signed a book and paid an entrance fee to enter the combination. We started out with a guided tour of the crocodile set up. Salties and freshwater here. It did seem to me to be very much a commercial enterprise though. I had the feeling that the only reason we had a guide was so he could 'sell' the opportunity to be photographed with a baby or pay to tease a larger animal with a lump of fish. Our 'guide' left us at the end of the crocodile section.
The next bit was the 'Nature Park' being, apparently a collection made up of rescued native animals. I don't doubt that there are rescues amongst them but am doubtful as to this being the raison d'etre for the collection.
Palawan Wildlife and Nature Park - part 2
It is, in fact quite a nice little set up with purpose built cages set in an area of natural woodland. There are neat little paths weaving in and out giving good coverage and reach. I am unsure when this place was built but, at a guess 5-10 years. Sadly, as with most Philippine buildings the normal rules are in play. These seem to state that there will be no maintenance until everything is dropping to bits. That is just what is happening here. Creeping deterioration. The signage is good and new and I suspect sponsored and supplied by the IUCN.
Apart from at the start where there was a couple of Ostriches all the animals were endemics from the Philippines with the emphasis being on those from Palawan. So we had Palawan Bearded Pig, Palawan Porcupine, Palawan Binturong, Palawan Mynah, Palawan Hornbill, Philippines Cockatoo, Philippines Forest Turtles, Serpent Eagle, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Blue Naped Parrot, Long Tailed Macaques, Spotted Wood-owl Strix seloputo and some weird little bird of prey which I did not recognise. If I was to name it I would call it a crested kestrel.
The Palawan Peacock Pheasant was conspicuous by its absence. There was a sign, there was a cage but no birds. Great pity because pictorial representations of the birds are literally everywhere we have been.
This little collection held some promise. It needs a good kick to get back on the right track. Someone needs to explain basic animal husbandry, perching, enrichment, maintenance. With the signage the basic education message is being put forward but I am unsure about the
other zoological aims. It could be very good!
I've mentioned before about Gloria's animal ignorance. "I thought the biggest kind of fish was a turtle" she said. This from an intelligent person who thrives on documentaries. We have a long was to go.
Gloria told me today that she had read in the paper that 'Woo Woo' the mermaid of Laguna had been elected to council. I didn't doubt she could do it.
Puero Princesa. I can't believe I am the only person who thinks it should be spelt with two s's.
Palawan Peacock Pheasant
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