Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Paradizoo Farm, Cavite

Paradizoo Farm, Mendez, Cavite

The name is derived from the fact that this is a zoo for some imported, endemic, and farm animals. Thus, you will see camels, ostrich, cows, horses and ponies, sheep, goats, ducks, pigs, chicken, and a few others. They also have some weird animals like the 5-legged cow. The 5th leg does not function for walking, only an attachment dangling on the right front side of the cow.

In its website, www.paradizoo.com, they show those animals in the open area. But if you go to the farm, and your group is not big, those animals are in their cages, especially the goats, camels, pigs, etc. A staff of the farm says they only let some of those animals in the open area if there are plenty of guests.

Aside from farm animals, the place also has a flower garden, vegetable plots, papaya and banana plots, a small butterfly farm, a poultry for egg production, and a pet cemetery.

The farm charges visitors P100 per head entrance fee. I don’t know if this includes some rides, or separate payment will be charged for the rides,, a golf cart. We (with Jules, Ed and Ruth, a Canadian couple doing missionary work in Busuanga, Palawan; and 2 other guys) were not charged entrance fee because we were not ordinary visitors. Ed wanted to see the farm’s various goats and possibly buy some that he will bring to Busuanga, to introduce goat raising for meat and milk production, for the locals that they’re helping there. Goats are Paradizoo’s most commercialized products. They have different kind of goats from different continents. Among the more famous -- and most expensive – ones, are the boer goats (from Australia) Kalahari (from Africa), Anglo-Nubian goats.

Ed is a farmer himself in British Columbia, Canada. He knows different kinds of goats, their characteristics, including their potential milk production per day. He thinks local prices of those hybrid goats, including those in Paradizoo, are pretty much expensive – at least 2x the price -- compared to what he’d get in Canada for the same kind and size of goats. Nonetheless, I think you don’t see much collection of different goats in the Philippines compared to what you will see in Paradizoo.

Another good collection of Paradizoo for me, are their native pigs and wild boar. These have black hair, small and short pigs, but can run very fast in the wild. The farm has one long nose variety, it looks like a black and rounded body Armadillo. This one attacks people if they’re not watching. Then the wild boar which have 2 or 4 big, protruding teeth. Then hybrid or cross-breed of wild boar + other pig varieties.

Those various animals are not strictly “organic”. The goats and cows are given grasses everyday, but they feast on pelletized commercial feeds. The ostrich and pigs, I learned from some of their farm workers, are fed practically 100% feeds. The grasses are also bought from other farms or barangays since the farm is not big enough (something like 7.5 hectares only) to produce its own grasses and organic feeds for its animals.

Paradizoo is hilly. And one thing I noticed is that they do very little or do nothing to control or minimize soil erosion. No new stone terraces, except those that have been constructed some years ago when they established the farm. You know that the land continuously loses its top soil because the hard surface, even stones and small rocks, are exposed. And those eroded top soil go down streams and rivers that contribute to siltation of rivers, lakes, other bodies of water.

For these, I can say that Paradizoo farm does not practice sustainable farming. Well, it earns a lot I guess from entrance fees and from sale of various farm products, like goats, native pigs, other animals; eggs, fruits, etc. Thus, it has money to buy those feeds and grasses elsewhere.

Nonetheless, for weekend visitors, especially for families and schools who want to expose their young kids to various animals, a visit to this farm is a good decision.

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