LEGAZPI CITY, April 5 (PNA) -- After a six-month temporary closure for a major rehabilitation, the provincial government of Albay reopened Monday to the public the Albay Park and Wildlife in Barangay Bogtong here.
Governor Joey Sarte Salceda led the re-opening program with Demetrio Ignacio, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary for Field Operations, as the guest of honor.
Ignacio lauded the project of Albay, which, he said, is considered the "Most Environment Friendly Province" in the entire country while he called Salceda as the "Most Environment Friendly Governor" and "Climate Change Negotiator" of the Philippines.
Dr. Pancho Milla, Albay Park and Wildlife administrator, said he is confident that more people will come to the park as it has been enhanced with an Php87-million funding from the provincial government.
Aside from the wall, the provincial government also constructed well-maintained food court, activity center, picnic cottages, lagoons, butterfly house, additional cages and mini park inside.
Milla said the park also has a new attraction -- two miniature horses where one can ride on each -- and anytime from now, a robotic dinosaur from China would possibly arrive.
At present, there are 10 different species of mammal or 30 heads in the park and wildlife which include tiger, monkey, wild pig, miniature horse and 99 Avian creatures with 23 different species like owl, ostrich, bengala, eagle, canary, ground pigeon and others.
There are also 11 various species of reptile like python, snake, iguana, crocodile, exotic turtles and others.
Still drawing attraction in the park is the preserved body of an 800-kg megamouth shark which was recovered last year in the town of Libon at Albay's west coast.
All in all, there are 226 heads of live animals in the five-hectare compound of the park and its administration spends Php45,000 daily for the food alone of these creatures.
Milla said all expenses the park incurred for maintenance are fully recovered from the 250,000 visitors that visit it yearly that translates to Php3.5 million annual income.
At present, he said, there is already an ordinance at the Sanguniang Panlalawigan ng Albay that would require a higher entrance fee from the present Php10 to Php20 for children and the amount to be charged from adults will be Php50.
As a result, the park official said, the annual income of the provincial government will triple or be at least Php10 million.
Salceda said the reopening of the park will strengthen the tourism program of the province, hence, he expects more tourist arrivals added to the present figure of 502,000.
He said the Wildlife Rescue Center they put up inside the park will be made the Regional Wildlife Rescue Center wherein it will be a quarantine area for newly-arrived animals and will serve as a veterinary clinic of caught or turned-over sick animals.
The governor said the DENR has helped a lot in the planning for the transformation of the Albay Park and Wildlife as the management has placed the cages under trees which has brought about a semblance of natural habitat of the animals.(PNA) ZST/FGS/JH/CBD/EDS