Zamboanguite Zoo Paradise of the World – Negros oriental

IMG_0618

The location of the zoo is in Zamboangita town part of barangay Salgnan on Negros Oriental island. The “Lamplighters” which are a religious/environmental group originally started the zoo and developed it. Its main organizer being Eleuterio Tropa a former priest. It was a bit of an odd group and its motto being “love one another and love nature”. The members were not allowed to cut their hair regardless of sex, had to walk barefoot and uniformed with black shirts and trousers of red and green.

An area worth visiting when at the zoo is ipil-ipil forest which has an enclosed fence. But inside you will find many species of birds and animals including snakes,tigers,monkeys and crocodiles the sect members walk freely amongst the animals to pet and feed them.

The former priest and founder Father Tropa passed away in 1993 but his main concerns during his lifetime was the environment and the general wellbeing of all. He led by example only keeping the most basic of amenities but also being a strong believer in herbal remedies as a cure the group developed natural healing for its ailments and injuries. A remote zoo in a country that needs more preservation than anywhere else a lot could be learned from father Tropa. You will find amongst the zoo some of his previous belongings as he himself was part of the life here and its development.

A way to help support the zoo is purchasing some of the locally produced handmade items in the souvenir store. Father Tropa’s remaining family have kept the zoo going and the legacy he left behind.

When visiting the zoo be aware its around half an hours ride from Dumaguete city. Ask at the bus terminal on advice getting there. Another feature that I haven’t mentioned already is you can hire a zoo keeper to show you round and tell you a bit about the animals. On top of that you can pet some of the animals such as the monkeys,fish and possibly even get to hold a snake.

4 comments for “Zamboanguite Zoo Paradise of the World – Negros oriental

  1. Kento
    July 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I feel that I have not heard nearly as much about conservation coupled with Christianity (or the other Abrahamic religions for that matter) as I have with the eastern and animistic religions.

    As far as I am aware, and I do write out of ignorance, historically, religion has played a role in conservation in the following ways:
    1) Reverence and Taboo. Religions, especially animistic religions, have made forests, rivers, mountains, and other geographic features, as well as certain species, sacred. In doing so, they also developed taboos against certain actions against these sacred lands and species that no individual would even consider breaking. While which species is protected can be arbitrary and potentially lead to overpopulation, the lands selected usually were not. The sacred river is usually the river that allows the community to live.
    2) Clerical protection. In more “developed” or “advanced” cultures, where the average person has a less immediate connection with nature, it would not be unusual for part of the duties of those who administer a shrine, temple, or monastery to have the role of protecting sacred lands. If a temple protected a mountain, a town might need permission from the temple authorities to have the river feed irrigation canals, or to log its trees. The temple put a check on the urban desire for short-term benefit.

    The strength of these religious views is that they were often holistic. A not uncommon view would be to see a land as alive in its own right, the weather, rivers, soil, plants and animals being seen as interdependent organs necessary for it to continue to live. Today we have a secular term for this idea, “ecosystem,” but the religious view is only different in terminology, a terminology that conveys a greater sense of vitality.

    This holistic view is important though. Human settlements that flourish are often those where life in general flourish. The sacred river is not only important for the direct human benefit, but for the entire ecosystem it supports.

    Perhaps the reason the Abrahamic religions do not lend themselves to these types of things is because the special position humans have in Abrahamic cosmology, above and apart from nature, nature being relegated to a tool for man. (Aristotle, who predates Christianity and probably was unaware of Judaism, viewed nature in a similar way, so it’s unfair to pin this just on religion, though St. Thomas Aquinas incorporated Aristotle’s view of nature into the then united Christian church.) Perhaps it’s because many faithful in the Abrahamic religions believe that the world will end soon enough, so there’s no permanent damage to worry about. Perhaps it’s because in the one great conservation story shared by the Abrahamic religions, the story of Noah and his Arc, man has to protect nature from God.

    In any case, it’s good to see some Christian conservation movements.

    (This doesn’t really fit in anywhere, but one terrifying view of conservation that -can- make sense from a Christian context is that expressed by the Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, in the official Republican response speech to President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address: “We are blessed here in America with vast natural resources, and we must use them all.”)

  2. July 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I think “utilize” would be a better coin of phrase than use.. as half the worlds problems are down to overusage to the point of running out.

  3. July 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    He was speaking about the need for the United States to not be reliant on foreign powers for its energy needs, and in that context, what he says is less horrifying, though he immediately criticizes cap-and-trade without offering any alternative plan to lower consumption. He did not say anything that even hinted lowering consumption would be a good thing, no hint that there is any waste. To do so would be to criticize private industry and individuals as not 100% efficient, which fewer and fewer Republicans are willing to say.

    But just as how in many cultures it’s considered rude to not eat all the food put on your plate, there really is a view among some people that it is an insult to God to not use all the fossil fuels that God put in the ground. The use of the word “use” is, I think, not a mistake.

  4. July 11, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Then I would say the term “misuse” would be more appropriate then. Although using all of the natural resources does baffle me when people find it acceptable and almost a must as it will be these people first in line asking for help.