IF YOU LOVE ANIMALS, SKIP BALUARTE

November 27, 2015



You thought I was done with my Ilocos musings, didn't you?

Well, sometimes you save the worst ones for last.


Baluarte is this huge property in Ilocos Sur, where visitors can supposedly enjoy animals up close. 
I don't really like zoos in general, especially because of the poor state of the animals in most Philippine zoos I've visited. But we were to see deer and tigers and other wildlife, and since Ilocos has been great with their natural resources so far, I thought, yeah, let's take a chance with Baluarte.


We were welcomed by the open grounds where white deer roamed. As we went up the hill to see the other animals, we were offered a chance to see a baby tiger and have a photo op as well, for the price of 50php each.

It is hard writing this, because whilst I entertained the thought of finally petting a tiger and sharing the photo for all social media to see, it was also difficult to see a 6 month tiger cub in the middle of what looked like the zoo cafeteria. It was the uneasy feeling of seeing something to majestic trapped inside something so....mundane and human. Tigers belonged to the wild.


They didn't belong sitting next to a Nestle icecream fridge and bottle-fed by squeamish tourists. I wonder how many times a day the tiger endures this torture. I had half the mind to tell the caretakers to set it free in the wild.


Then again, wild tigers have reached an all time low. Perhaps they were safer here in the arms of Chavit Singson than being hunted? 

Maybe. 

It was a sad realization. The poor baby tiger looked like a prisoner and we were the captors.


Aside from Baby Tiger, they also let you take a photo with this Burmese python for Php20. I didn't think I could handle it (the sadness over these animals, not the actual fear of the snake) so I passed it up.


The baby tiger and us parted ways. I was sad, but I thought maybe this cage was better that being hunted in the wild so I tried to console myself with that thought.



Then, we reached the new "animal museum" at the very top of the hill, where this lovely portrait of Mr Singson awaited.


We didn't know what to expect, but surely, it wasn't this.


Oh Lord. 

What did the poor lion ever do to hunters?



The museum was an exhibit of "prize game". I had to excuse myself because pieces of my broken heart were all over the floor and someone might get hurt.



I've seen stuffed animals before but photos of the kill? Never. And it was something I never intended to see. I wouldn't have minded a spoiler alert for this trip. If someone warned me that I'll be seeing photos of dead rhinos---hunted legally or otherwise, it doesn't matter---I wouldn't have come.

 In this time and age, hunting animals just for the sick fun of it is outdated, and should be banned. 


These animals are endangered, and should be protected.

It doesn't matter when they were hunted, or under what circumstances. This should not be happening anymore. 600 African lions are hunted every year, and their numbers are dwindling.
People hunted before (before, as in when the world was new) because they needed to survive. This kind of hunting? It's just for vanity. What pride is there in killing majestic animals? To be on top of the food chain? We're already there. We hide behind rifles and nets just to stay on top of it, wouldn't that have been enough? No, we had to make it into a hobby.

Knitting is a nice hobby. Cross-stitch is a nice hobby. 

Big-game hunting is just wrong.





The exhibit area itself is classy, the place well-lit and newly minted. But if you love animals, please, skip this part of Baluarte.

Seeing polar bears and tigers as pelts won't do your heart any good, not to mention all the hunting photos prominently displayed and framed around the room.




The purpose of the museum was for it to be "educational"--- the posters said so. Maybe it is. Seeing the exhibit is a good way to educate children that there is no glory in hunting and that animal populations should be conserved.

Please. No more hunting. 

Set up a fund to conserve and protect wildlife instead. 


Oh, and here are some deer.




Your everyday rhino-hugger,


Krish :)













@krishafromtheisland

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