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Saturday, March 11, 2006

March 12, 2006-Calauit Animal Reserve


Ferdinand Marcos thought it would be cool to have some African animals in the Philippines, so, with the help of a cruiser, (so we hear) he imported a bunch and put them on a big reserve on Busuanga Island. The reserve is still there though Marcos is long gone. Some of the animals remain too, and cruisers often stop in Illutuk Bay to visit this reserve.

Wings at Illutuk Bay

We anchored in Illutuk Bay, after narrowly missing some rather nasty reefy spots, and went ashore. There an attendent help us arrange a tour for the next morning. At 7:00 we piled into a well worn jeep and were driven around few hours, with a running commentary by the manager of the place. It was great to be able to get close to these animals, and feeding the girrafe by hand was thrilling.

Click here for more photos

There are pressures on the Calauit Animal Reserve. Many local people were evicted from the reserve when it was formed (but compensated, we're told) and now the money they received is gone, and land being in short supply, they want to come back. Some have simply squatted. With courts in the Philippines being as they are, the court cases to evict these people can go either way.

And click here for even more

The other problem is that politics being as they are in the Philippines, no polician now wishes to give any credit to Marcos, and they are loathe to support Marcos' Animal Reserve, (This is probably a significant factor behind the recent court decisions in favor of former land owners.)

In fact I suspect, although no one would confirm it, many of the animals have been sold off. A brouchure dated 2004 list several species and much higher animal counts than we saw. Where did they go?

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Busuanga



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