So, one of the top ten places to visit in Davao is the Crocodile Park. We had time to kill yesterday before taking Tristan to the airport so we decided to go see what the park was all about. As it turns out, the park is actually one half crocodile breeding facility and one half zoo. The total entrance fee for the three of us was 450 pesos (approximately 10 US dollars), which is actually considered fairly expensive by Filipino standards.
I think the general consensus about our visit was that is was a very depressing yet eye-opening experience. It was sad to see the conditions that the animals have to endure day in and day out, but it made us appreciate how well the animals in our zoos back home are treated.
Now for a description of what we observed at the park...
Regardless of its habitat requirements, each animal in the zoo was given a total allotment of 1 stick and a water bowl (usually), nothing more. For some reason, the park's 2 Siberian tigers were in the same small lock-down pen instead of being allowed in their enclosure. There was a civet attached by a leash to a stand that sat in front of a wall of too-small cages housing highly intelligent birds who didn't have access to even a single form of enrichment.
An eagle was attached to a stand that anyone could walk right up to. While we were watching, the bird was startled several times. It attempted to flee from the people frightening it, but simply crashed to the pavement instead because of the restraints placed on both of his legs.
The pythons on exhibit were continuously poked at by adults and children alike. The largest saltwater crocodile that we have ever seen was in an exhibit by himself where he was laying in the bottom of a pool that was too small for him; there wasn't a single drop of water in his entire exhibit.
However, the worst part of the park had to be the monkeys and apes. Two of the monkeys were kept in side by side cages that had to be less than 5 square feet in size. The very first line on their species description sign said that the monkeys are "intelligent and highly social creatures" yet they were kept separated and given absolutely nothing in their cages (not even water bowls). Tristan figured out that the monkeys really enjoyed playing with leaves so we spent a few minutes collecting some good ones and gave them to the animals to rip apart and chew on.
Here are some pictures to help you get a feel for what we saw on Saturday.