Crocolandia: Park with mini-zoo
A turtle farm converted into a park with a mini-zoo might not be an idea of a profitable business venture.
But the investment not only gave job opportunities to the park’s 13 staff members but also helped educate visiting students about wild animals in our country.
The park investment called Crocolandia, has also proved that a community social responsibility done through a formal organization and operated to fit its operational needs could actually work in Cebu.
Crocolandia, founded and run by the Crocolandia Foundation Inc., is a one-hectare property in Biasong, Talisay City, south of Cebu.
Crocolandia Foundation Inc. was founded in November 2000 by Go Ching Hai, whose daughter Janet Nelly Chiu now sits as the president of the foundation.
“It’s because of their love for nature and their passion to pursue and practice their calling that brought the founder and their partners together to create the foundation and open Crocolandia in January 6, 2001,” said Crocolandia manager Reah Bacordo.
The park with a mini-zoo property opened after their female seawater crocodile named Magellan started laying eggs.
“At present we have 79 crocodile species and have at least two kinds of each, which we got from donations from organizations and private individuals,” Bacorbo said.
Bacordo said visitors often told them that they not only enjoy watching the 17 reptiles — saltwater crocodiles, the Philippine freshwater crocodiles, spectacled caiman, turtles, tortoise, pythons, boa, lizard and iguana — in the farm but also they found their trips educational.
Thirty-nine kinds of birds also abound in the park, including egret, heron, crow, ostrich, peafowl, hornbill, eagles, owls, myna, parrots, doves, cockatoo and pheasants.
Fish like tilapia, paco, catfish, alligator gars, janitor fish, koi and arowana also thrive in the park’s ponds.
Mammals like the tarsiers, the Philippine brown deer, warty pig, civet, bear cat, leopard cat, squirrel and porcupine occupy the enclosures in the park.
“Our rate right now is P80 for adults and P40 for kids and we give 25 percent discount for a tour group minimum of 25 people,” Bacordo said.
While the mini zoo receives donations from Magnolia and the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), who provide chicken meat for crocodile feed, Bacordo said they still had to increase the entrance fee from P80 to P150 for adults and from P40 to P150 for children in August to sustain the park’s operational costs, which could reach from P50,000 to P60,000 a month.
With the classes opening soon, Bacordo said they would expect an increase of visitors especially from grade school students.
“We average about 100 people every day during our peak season and on off peaks season like summer, we only have many visitors on weekends,” she said.
To update the park staff members with the latest trends in animal care, they are sent on trainings like those organized by the Zoo Keepers Association.
The park also has a new canteen that sells snack items and souvenir items to promote Crocolandia to tourists since they still couldn’t afford to advertise.
“Our next project now is building more enclosures to accommodate more animals in our park. It’s currently being built and is targeted to be finished by July this year,” Bacordo said.
They also plan to breed more Philippine freshwater crocodiles.
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