Being in my fourth year of BS Biology I’m required to fulfill 120 hours of On-the-job training in different institutions that require my skills as a biologist.
For weekends I have signed up for being a volunteer in Crocolandia. I’ve always wished that I could work in a zoo for part time and here I am working in one during the weekends. I was so excited to work Crocolandia that I had a hard time sleeping the night before. (thank you strawberry milk for a good night’s rest)
I was also so excited that I arrived in Crocolandia at 8:30am even if I live several kilometers away from the place. I took notes on how to get there too:
Getting to Crocolandia
- Take a 42D in Citilink (don’t go for 41D cuz it’s more expensive to ride a tricycle to the place unless you’re in a group of 4 or 5 so you can split the expense)
- Get down at the last stop. You pay 12 php in all.
- From the last stop take a tricycle to Crocolandia for 15 php.
- Crocolandia entrance fee is 80php
I arrived 30 minutes earlier than my OJT partner: Meryl. Yes I was damn excited to start working. Since I was early I decided to give the birds a visit since I know they’re quite active in the morning and because of this I got an uncommon surprise.
Bugoy, the male ostrich, sat down and flapped his wings all while swinging his head back and forth. And here I thought penguins and small birds were the only things capable of cute displays. I later learned in our orientation that Bugoy’s wife, Olga, died while having sex with Bugoy one rainy December day. Talk about safe sex.
Orientation for the Trainees
For the first part of the orientation we were toured around the Park and so we learned all kinds of animals and their personal names. I was particularly fascinated with the fearsome Lapu-lapu, the largest Saltwater crocodile in the park. If you stay near the fence that separates you from Lapu-lapu you can try to look close into the water you can see that Lapu-lapu’s HUGE head is just lurking in the dark waters waiting to just suddenly resurface!
After which our educational officer had to leave us to one park attendant because she had to tour a huge group of students.
The park attendant left tried to teach us how to feed the baby iguanas. He handed us two baby iguanas and he told us to feed it. I muttered something about hand feeding it or just letting it eat on its own but I think the attendant (who was also a Biologist himself, yey!) didn’t hear me so he tried to look at what we would do. So like complete idiots (and despite my stock knowledge on weaning birds) we decided to push the faces of the babies at the food. Well, that was stupid. So he decided to teach us that we needed to hand feed it. Apparently mine was pretty hungry. Meryl’s baby iguana seemed comfortable in her hand because it just slept every time she tried to feed it.
After awhile of feeding the iguana we got to feed the Indian Star tortoise. This happens to be one of the most beautiful species of tortoise I’ve ever seen. By the way and FYI, IT’S TRUE THAT IF YOU TURN A TORTOISE UPSIDE DOWN IT WILL DIE! Lactic accumulation in it’s back after 2 hours can kill it.
Bird Area of the Park
Their coastal birds were kept near the crocodile ponds where they had a beautiful simulation of a natural fish pond. Proper plants, big space for flight and corners for breeding. In fact, I saw an immature Rufous Night Heron and a pair nesting with two green eggs! Successful breeding has occurred in Crocolandia.
I didn’t need to learn much about the birds in the park except for their personal information like Bugoy’s copulation fiasco or the death of a certain Kalaw’s lover and also a Cockatoo’s locer. (So much drama in the animal park…)
You can also meet Mark the Mynah. Mark will ask you for your name and then if you ignore him he will give a high pitched “hoi!” that will definitely have you running back to him. Meryl also had the rare opportunity to finally hold a live Ball python! Slashed off her bucket list na.
Feeding in the park
I think this is one of my favorite things to do in the park. I have to say that the park has the BEST food served for their animals. I love how the park keeps a very systematic feeding schedule and all the animals are fed in a regulated amount and also with proper diet variations. Their fruits looked fresh enough for human intake!
But I guess my favorite part of the feeding was feeding Bugoy. The cute ostrich did have an attitude and was capable of grabbing a whole loaf of bread from my hand! It was also fun to feed the Sulcata Tortoise, 3rd largest of the tortoises of the world. These tortoise move really fast and eat really fast too! Boy can they eat up.
Then of course here’s one thing most of the tourists would love to see: CROCODILE FEEDING. Crocodile feeding occurs every 4 o’clock each day. If you stay a bit longer in the park then you just might be able to see such a spectacular and breathtaking event.
Luckily for me I was ready with my 50mm so I was able to capture the whole thing:
And so he makes a jump for the kill! Truly a spectacular sight. And so to quote Stever Irwin (may he rest in peace) “BLIMEY! Look at the size of that croc! Beautiful isn’t she?”
I also therefore conclude I need a new camera body because my lack of a focalglass is messing up with my focusing. If I want to get serious with my photography I have to end this blind photography I’ve been putting up for 3 years and a half now.
Here’s a second shot of the feeding:
Truly built for the kill, look at it stand on its hind legs! I can surely tell you the picture does not justify its strength. These crocs can do a lot more than that.
Meeting new friends
Apart from meeting the people from the park I also got to meet a visiting couple namely Kirt and Aidyl who shared a passion for animals (while Aidyl particularly loves Great danes). This cool couple were the first to hear my “semi-tour” of the animals in the area. Kirt, like me, loves wildlife and I can see he has the eye! His shots are pretty good and you can find click here to check them out: Kirt’s Crocolandia Visit
I just love it when people share a strong passion for the conservation of wildlife.
In another picture Kirt was carrying this heavy reptile!
Thanks again to Kirt and Aidyl for listening to me rant about animals I’m sorry I’m obsessed with wildlife!