Father Tropa was the zoo’s manager and primary caretaker, and he was known to all Cebuanos for his great love for animals. After his death, the Cebu City Government entrusted the daily management of the zoo to the Philippine Wetlands & Wildlife Foundation Inc., which unfortunately had no experience in animal husbandry and had no financial means to acquire it. The zoo’s conditions consequently deteriorated, with its existing enclosures eventually becoming unsuitable for the animals and the feeding becoming unsustainable by the declining income from the gate fees. A lot, if not all, of the animals had to go and had to be donated to other groups, including one beloved orangutan.
To cut the story short, it took a while before new management had the zoo up again. A lot of cleaning also took place. I am not sure though if there were animals left from the old zoo, or if all the ones that are there are new.
The zoo today is better than it was a few years ago, and children will get to see – and touch! – some of the animals. Expect nothing fancy, though, as there’s really not much to see. No elephants, giraffes and other wildlife creatures most zoo's in other countries have. There are only the usual birds and chickens and monkeys, and some others.
Adults can get in the zoo for only Php25, and kids 12 years old and below can get in for Php12. The really young ones, like our three-year-old, are admitted for free.
Upon entering the gate, you’d see a balding cockatoo named Arthur. You’d think he’s sick and is such a pitiful sight, but zookeepers say it’s because of old age. Arthur is almost 100 years old! Can you just imagine how many caretakers he’s had! And he has witnessed more than we have, including World War I and II!
Arthur the cockatoo
Also near the entrance are bamboo benches where you’d see a giant snake on one of them. I forgot its name, how long, and what kind of snake it is (I never really bothered to remember as I have never been a snake person), but he’s actually very tame and the person-in-charge will allow you to touch him. In fact, you can even request him to place this giant reptile on your shoulder.
The snake enjoying his afternoon nap
The zoo’s main attraction is a limping Bengal tiger named Bogart. One of the caretakers explained that he was born with polio. But the good news is, you can pet him!
And this is Bogart, the limping tiger
One of the crocodiles has also been domesticated and visitors are allowed to go down and touch his back. The guy who took us to him says that this crocodile actually loved being petted by people. I just had to decline because crocodiles scare me.
Aside from these, there are ducks, turtles, lizards, owls, and a few others.
The lizard, who looks bored...
The owl that looks regal and mysterious...
And the monkey nibbling on his manly appendage,
The zoo really needs other kinds of animals in order to lure more visitors.