Part of the tour that we personally picked was Calauit Safari tour. As mentioned on my Coron travel guide post, tour started early. In fact, it was the earliest amongst the other tours – starting @ 5:00 AM. It was a 2-hr ride from Coron proper to Calauit, then another 15-minute boat ride for you to get to the Safari park.
Calauit island was declared as a game preserve and wildlife sanctuary way back August 31, 1976 during the Marcos regime. It was a response from the request of Kenya’s president to help save African Wildlife threatened by drought. They considered the island the best possible location due to it’s size and vegetation. According to our guide, the sanctuary was a closed to the public; only Malacanang VIPs are allowed to visit until recently, the government open the sanctuary for everyone wanting to visit. There were several animals relocated, although due to island’s vast size, it’s not possible to see every specie. Giraffes and Zebras are a common sight for visitors as well as some animals that they put on pens for public viewing.
Animals were free to roam so you won’t be able to see them all. According to our guide, it’s best to visit early — giraffes were fed every morning so they tend to go on the feeding grounds by morning and would then wander off to the forest right after feeding. That explains why tour started early. Tourists need to be on a fenced ground to promote safety. Giraffes were gentle and adopted the environment with several tourists but they still kick once threatened/startled. There are some animals with purple marks — this is because of Gentian violet mixed with antibacterial solution to treat cuts the animals got while roaming the island. Due to their size, they tend to scrape on sharp branches, leaving cuts on some parts of their body.Aside from giraffes, there were Zebras on the island too. These zebras are Grevy’s zebras. Their specie is considered as the most endangered of the world’s three surviving zebra species. They were able to thrive well and increased in numbers however, according to our guide, they were not as big as the original Zebras on the island due to inbreeding.
The park was able to save Calamian deer, an indigenous wildlife named for the Calamian islands, the northernmost island cluster in Palawan province. There were only 25 left on the island when the park started a conservation effort in 1981. Currently, there is a thriving herd of more than a thousand of its specie.
Some of the Filipino species are kept in pens, for public viewing, like Porcupines, monkeys, python, and Civet cat. Visitors are allowed to feed the the animals too.
Calauit Island is just one of the islands included on Calauit Safari Tour. We headed to two more islands right after the Safari Park. I am already flooding the post with lots of photos so we’ll have the other two on a different post. I hope the snaps would inspire your to visit Caauit Safari Park. 🙂 You may check my last post, Coron Travel Guide, to see more details on how to book the tour.