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.