The Philippine Raptor Centre
The Centre for Philippine Raptors is located within Makiling Botanic Gardens close to Laguna in the Philippines. It is managed by the University of the Philippines. It is open every day apart for some holy days from eight in the morning till four thirty in the afternoon.
The Center acts mainly as a rescue and rehabilitation facility though it is involved with some captive breeding, education and research under the auspices of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The flagship species is the Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi for which the centre is a breeding facility.
The collection has had some success with rehabilitation and has released Grass owls, Philippine Scops Owls, Brahminy Kites, Serpent Eagles and White Breasted Sea Eagles.
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.
Negros Scops Owl
Tuesday 24th April 2007
After breakfast we caught a jeepney into town and then another into the 'forestry' area and the Maikiling Botanic Gardens. Ten pesos entry fee and sadly the swimming pool was closed. The whole area was very tropical and humid. The sweat was running off us in buckets. Word of
warning here.... take some water with you. It is not available when you most need it. Happily we did. Toilets are a load of crap too so another point to consider.
There are some excellent footpaths, plenty of picnic areas and extensive labelling of trees. An interesting visit even before we reached the object of our visit, 'The Philippine Raptor Centre'. This sadly was a bit of a disappointment, but at the same time not an unexpected one. The centre is free, though you are expected to sign a visitor book, and financed by the University. Herein lies the problem. So too is Dumagutte zoo. I think this is not just sad but a crime too. I fully appreciate the problems of finance BUT if this place is to be an example of what is 'good' and 'right' to university students, the cream of society, then it fails drastically. I am pretty sure that whoever is actually running the place knows what needs doing but have their hands tied without the cash.
The cages are, without exception just too small and that goes for the biggest. The construction is basic but fulfils essential needs. Perching could be improved upon though. Labelling too is very basic...but at least it is there. The collection is located in a quiet corner of the Botanic Gardens and, in spite of the failings, I quite liked it.
There were perhaps 25 aviaries in all. We got a look at most of these though some were far back and/or obscured. I imagine that these held the Philippine Eagles Pithecophaga jefferyi because I saw none here in spite of knowing they keep them. As a 'Breeding Centre' I think it failed miserably because there was no suggestion anywhere that this place had bred anything. Without the necessary informative signage one would be inclined to believe that any breeding has probably been by accident rather than design. Like Dumaguete Zoo this place too acts as a rescue centre and some of the birds were disabled. In terms of species there was:
4 Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
2 Philippine Eagle Owl Bubo philippensis
1 Black Kite Milvus migrans
1 European Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
1 Gray Faced Buzzard Butastur indicus
8 Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus
5 Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela
1 Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivigatus
1 White-tailed Sea Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
5 White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
? Philippine Scops Owl Otus megalotis
2 Philippine Hawk Eagle Spizaetus philippensis
These are approximate numbers only.
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