Friday, March 28, 2014

Calauit Game Reserve and Wildlife National Park

We anchored in a beautiful little spot right in front of the Calauit Wildlife Reserve.  This has been on our radar for quite some time.  Jake loves all things Safari and when we heard there was a safari park with African animals in it, we had to go.  So after sailing for 3 days from Puerto Galera, we finally made it.

It was so cool!  It's not a very big place when you think "Safari," but it was plenty big for this easily entertained family.  The park was an effort started by Ferdinand Marcos back in 1976 to supposedly help save African wildlife (although some stories say it was more to entertain his son's hunting habit??).  Animals from Africa were shipped here and put on this reserve to live alongside many species endemic to Palawan as well.

Calauit Deer
We opted for the guided jeep tour and were pleasantly surprised with how knowledgeable our guide was.  Roland (or Robin?  Andy and I disagree on the name), was our guide and he started working at the park in 1977...if it happened, he knew about it.  We were able to not only see the giraffes roaming around, but feed them and pet them as well.  There were 40 head of zebras - different herds all over the park.  ...Over 800 head of Calauit deer - tiny little deer found only in Palawan.  We saw many other things...antelope, wild boar, porcupines, monkeys, pythons, crocodiles, turtles...not all roaming wild (thank goodness), but all healthy and looking relatively happy.  We learned a lot in the few hours we were there.  There's a lot of arguing going on about who owns this land and what it should be used for.  There are some indigenous folks who believe it's theirs to do what they please (like hunting) and then there are the people who run the reserve who believe in conservation and protecting the animals.  Who knows the right thing to do...It's never black and white when it comes to these kinds of things.  I'm just glad we got to experience it while we were here.

I won't go on and on....I'll just get to the pictures...

We spent A LOT of time with the giraffes...

Those things are strong!  He kept surprising me!

He dressed for the occasion..."safari hat...check!",
"water bag....check!", "flipflops...check!"

We noticed that everything is smaller here in the Philippines....
even the porcupines.

Have you ever read about (or tasted) that coffee that comes
from an animal that eats the beans, then poops them out
(and those beans are collected for the coffee)?  This is that animal.

He's holding a turtle and inspecting the shell
to determine if it's male or of the things
he learned on this little field trip.

Baby fresh water crocodiles

Baby Crocodile hissing at his handler.

Just an inch taller....

Now we're anchored in a gorgeous cove about 20 miles south of the reserve...beautiful hotels, sunsets, protected moorings...absolutely gorgeous.

One view from the restaurant at the hotel that owns the mooring we're
on (and where we'll be enjoying our afternoon today).

Another view...

My view... :)

And finally, a few random pics we've taken in the last few days....

We barely touched anything in our freezer after
this catch!

A very large pod of dolphins we saw while underway.  We
saw a leatherback turtle too! unfortunately we were so
excited we didn't get a picture of it.

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