Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Remember my “Tuesday in the Park” with Kimmy and Adrienne post?
Well, after having rested and re-hydrated at a Jollibee store along T.M. Kalaw (formerly Calle San Luis), my sister and I decided to kill time at Manila Zoo — so as not to bore the little ones — before heading back to Rizal Park to catch it’s famous Dancing Fountain, a dancing musical fountain that erupts in colorful explosions in the evening.
Truth be told, I’d been a little apprehensive in bringing the kids to Manila Zoo just because I had this impression of it being uncool, unpleasant and jurassic (read: ancient).
The last time I was there was in 2003 with my San Beda College group-mates in Theology class playing tour guides to a dozen of orphan kids.
Just the same, I threw impression to the wind and went on with my sister and the little ones.
Everything turns out well at the end ... though I have to say the place is still jurassic. Hahaha!

The Manila Zoo, formally known as the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, is a 5.5-hectare zoo located in Malate, Manila, Philippines that opened on July 25, 1959. Home to about a thousand animals from 90 species (as of April 2015), the zoo is one of the country’s educational centers for viewing, discovering and learning about animals you would only normally see in the wild. And you can’t be at Manila Zoo without stopping to say hello to their most controversial resident. Upon entry at the zoo’s massive arched gate, you only need to look left to see her. As the only living elephant in the Philippines, Maali, short for Vishwamaali, is an Asian elephant who arrived at the zoo in 1977 as 3 year old calf transported from Sri Lanka, after being poached from the wild.

Our Adrienne was beyond amazed to see an elephant face to face.

Maali has been the subject of a tug-of-war between the zoo and the animal rights organization PeTA.

Read more about it here.

Picture, picture. Manila Zoo says that Maali will get a bigger and better enclosure, soon.

But Maali is not the only large animal residing in the zoo. Across Maali’s enclosure, a group of ostriches are also a sight to see.

A pair of Southern cassowary

A few steps on is the Reptile Habitat. From pythons and boas to grass snakes to cobras, zoo-goers can see them inside a stone structure that also houses other reptiles like lizards, iguanas, caimans and turtles.

A free-roaming heron/bittern

That is not a stone popping out of the water. That’s a hippo submerged in its private pool.

Right next to the hippos are the large crocs, both saltwater and freshwater, just basking in the sun like they do along rivers and sea fronts.

Manila Zoo also houses several endemic and indigenous species of animals like the Philippine mouse deer.

The Philippine mouse-deer, also known as the Balabac chevrotain or pilandok (in Filipino), is a small, nocturnal ruminant, which is endemic to Balabac and nearby smaller islands (Bugsuc and Ramos) southwest of Palawan in the Philippines. The genus Tragulus means little goat and the Philippine mouse-deer has been named so due to the horizontal pupils of the eyes. This position of the pupil allows for an increase in peripheral depth perception. It has traditionally been considered a subspecies of the greater mouse-deer (T. napu). In 2004, though, T. nigricans was separated from T. napu as its own species due to differences in skull morphology. Contrary to its common name, the Philippine mouse-deer does not belong to the deer family Cervidae, but is a member of the chevrotain family. (Wiki.)

Adrienne intently listening to her mom’s lecture on the Hebra.

Cross breed of horse and zebra called Hebra in Manila Zoo.

Yes, Kimmy! No zebra here, only Hebra. And no giraffe, either. It’s been dead a long long time ago.

Catch me if you can moment.

More crocs.

Manila Zoo’s charming stable. Can you spot a herd of sheep?

I blinked, and she grew up. Our Adrienne looks so grown up here.

Hi, hello!

Hanging by the monkey bars in-front of the monkey/baboon alley.

An injured Asian palm civet. #lagotsapeta

The Asian palm civet, also called toddy cat, is a small member of the Viverridae family native to South and Southeast Asia. In 2008, the IUCN classified the species as Least Concern as it is tolerant of a broad range of habitats. It is widely distributed with large populations that in 2008 were thought unlikely to be declining. In 2012, it was suggested that recent increases in capturing the animals for Kopi Luwak (civet coffee) production may constitute a significant threat to wild civet populations. (Wiki.)

An oxen life

The lion’s den was reduced to a cage.

Lion King taking a power nap.

A Bengal tiger

Postcard perfect lagoon

Kimmy spotted a group of Indian blue peafowl from across the pond.

The Indian peafowl or blue peafowl, a large and brightly coloured bird, is a species of peafowl native to South Asia, but introduced in many other parts of the world like the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia. The species was first named and described by Linnaeus in 1758, and the name Pavo cristatus is still in use now.

The male peacock is predominantly blue with a fan-like crest of spatula-tipped wire-like feathers and is best known for the long train made up of elongated upper-tail covert feathers which bear colourful eyespots. These stiff feathers are raised into a fan and quivered in a display during courtship. Females lack the train, and have a greenish lower neck and duller brown plumage. The Indian peafowl lives mainly on the ground in open forest or on land under cultivation where they forage for berries, grains but also prey on snakes, lizards, and small rodents. Their loud calls make them easy to detect, and in forest areas often indicate the presence of a predator such as a tiger. They forage on the ground in small groups and usually try to escape on foot through undergrowth and avoid flying, though they fly into tall trees to roost.

The function of the peacock’s elaborate train has been debated for over a century. In the 19th century, Charles Darwin found it a puzzle, hard to explain through ordinary natural selection. His later explanation, sexual selection, is widely but not universally accepted. In the 20th century, Amotz Zahavi argued that the train was a handicap, and that males were honestly signalling their fitness in proportion to the splendour of their trains. Despite extensive study, opinions remain divided on the mechanisms involved.

The bird is celebrated in Indian and Greek mythology and is the national bird of India. The Indian peafowl is listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. (Wiki.)

Cute bunnies, Guinea pigs and hamsters foraging in a single enclosure.

I have no idea.

Palawan binturong or bearcat

A family of domestic goat

Viewing deck/lounge

Reel or real? Take a souvenir photo with one of the life-sized animal figures.

You can rent rowboats here. Pero parang ayoko.

Koi pond

Spotted at Manila Zoo’s Aviary: a White-Breasted Sea Eagle

Not sure. Might be a Purple Swamphen

Palawan Peacock-Pheasant

Rufous Hornbill or kalaw

An eagle owl

Catalina macaw — a blue and yellow macaw & scarlet macaw hybrid

I’m confused. Either an Striated Heron or a Cinnamon Bittern

A Grey-faced Buzzard

Brahminy Kites

and a charming (but foul-mouthed) cockatoo.

Other than the animals, Manila Zoo also has fun features for the kids and kids-at-heart. The zoo offers rock climbing, horseback riding, a zip line and a fish spa. The playground of the zoo is an instant attraction to kids (though it badly needs a fresh coat of paint). There is also a small lagoon where rowboats can be rented. Ice cream and toy vendors can be seen all over the zoo.

Aside from the general entrance you paid for entering Manila Zoo, you will have to shell out an extra P100 if you want to enter Kinder Zoo. Inside the mini zoo, kids can hold and feed several kinds of birds/animals, including macaws, cockatoos, toucans, gibbon, and wild pig. A must visit if you have kids in tow.

Located along Adriatico Street in Malate, Manila (only 15 minutes away from SM Mall of Asia), Manila Zoo is the oldest in Asia and is open to the public from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Sunday.

Our plan for next summer? We’re bringing the kids either to Malabon Zoo or Ark Avilon. Any ideas/suggestions?

(To be continued)

Edit: Manila Zoo renovation underway by July 2015.

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