Saturday, August 26, 2006

Meet Dimsum and Rhea, Zoobic's hottest act

Manila Bulletin

Amid the growls of numerous Siberian tigers caged at the famous Zoobic Safari, located inside the Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales, two pint-sized cubs – Dimsum and Rhea, are stealing the show with their child-like demeanor and audible ‘‘purr.’’

They hop, they jump, they knock each other out. They never seem to tire out. These tiny little cubs will allow you to lovingly pet them as if they’re your own tabby cat.

"Dimsum is the gentler one. He’s very affectionate. Rhea, on the other hand, is temperamental. She embodies the typical tiger, playful and mischievous," said Primo Francia, Zoobic’s animal trainer.

The duo are fast becoming the hottest craze in the park’s weekend special where tigers show off their tricks before an awe-struck audience.

Zoobic is the only tiger safari in the Philippines. It is only three-hour easy drive from Manila through the North Luzon Expressway.

Zoobic Safari, set in a sprawling 13.60hectare woodlands of Subic, is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. It is home to different kinds of animals, both endangered and endemic species.

"Guests can touch, play and even walk with the animals. We train them to be people-friendly so, basically, they’re harmless," Francia assured.

They’re indeed harmless, as a matter of fact, the tigers by far have never shown any significant dangerous behavior.

"But of course, the animal instinct will always be there. Tigers are naturally aggressive animals. They may scratch or bite, but as trainers, we try to minimize their aggression," Francia added.

Siberian tigers are native to the jungles of Russia and India. Their thick striped fur protects them from harsh, cold weather of their natural habitat.

"But Dimsum and Rhea (and the other tigers in captivity here) have well-adopted with our tropical weather," Francia said. The tigers keep their paws clean by enjoying baths at least twice a week.

Three in-house veterinarians also ensure the animals are in tiptop shape through routine checkups, vaccinations and balanced nutrition. Tigers’ diet consists only of raw meat, such as chicken, beef or pork.

One tiger can consume 10 kilos of beef just in one day, roughly 300 kilos per month, he said.

Tigers are considered endangered species. There are approximately 300 Siberian tigers left in the wild due to massive hunting. Their body parts are sold for medical purposes and for cooking.

A Siberian tiger measures 1.4 to 2.8 m (4 ½ to 9 ft) long, not including the tail which is 69 to 95 cm (27 to 37 in) in length, and this big cat weighs 180 to 306 kg (400 to 675 lb.). It has thick yellow fur with dark stripes.

Francia admitted that it takes a while to effectively tell the two cubs apart, but the stripes in their bodies and facial structure give Zoobic staff clues as to who’s who.

Dimsum and Rhea, who will both turn three-month old this August, were taken off from their parents’ nooks just few months ago.

They have different mothers, but have the same father – an alpha, male tiger, which is the most dominant among the pack. The alpha male fathers most of the offspring in the park.

Dimsum and Rhea’s parents are in captivity inside the park’s three-hectare enclosed forests where the wild tigers are encouraged to frolic in their natural habitat.

Found in the forests atop the Subic Freeport Zone, Zoobic serves as a sanctuary not only to Siberian and Bengal tigers, but also to ostriches, snakes, iguanas, lizards, potbellies, wild boars, guinea fowls and other animals seen roaming freely only in the Discovery Channel and other cable shows.

In Zoobic, they can be seen, touched and even be photographed up close. One can even take a photo of being flanked by Siberian and Bengal tigers, or one of it’s snakes.

Visitors may feed them through barred windows of the safari jeep provided by Zoobic authorities.

Zoobic offers a two-hour tour in a safari jeep. Tourists can experience the tigers prowl and growl at the raw chicken they could dangle before them.

They can also enjoy the park’s amenities, including the Zoobic lodge at Tiara (Crown Peak). It is a safari-inspired rooms where guests can stay after their adventure at the park.

Likewise, the options are not limited as some of the hotels, theme parks, resorts and spas at the Freeport zone offers up to 40 percent discount to vacationers during the rainy months of August and September, even onwards.

"You will never get bored here. There are a lot of things to do," said SBMA Tourism Department Manager Benny Triguero III.

The SBMA will also hold series of festivals such as mardi gras, fiestas, street parties and sports tournaments to draw in local and foreign tourists in this beautiful locale as part of the Subic Bay Summer Spillover promo.

Whether you’re a big fan of the wilds or not, you should never pass up a thought of visiting Zoobic Safari. Forget the crowded malls or beaches or worn-out theme parks in the metro, Zoobic Safari is now the place to go.


Anonymous said...

Howdy! I just would like to give an enormous thumbs up for the good info you may have
right here on this post. I will likely be coming again to your
blog for more soon.

Also visit my website outdoor ?ªュ?ƒク ?°⽬outdoor ?ªュ?ƒク?µ὿?

Anonymous said...

Hello! I simply want to give a huge thumbs up for the nice
data you’ve right here on this post. I shall be coming again to your weblog for more soon.

Look into my website; free website for free music downloads for mp3 players

Anonymous said...

Howdy! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the nice data you’ve right
here on this post. I will probably be coming back to your weblog for extra soon.

Look at my page baby trend expedition travel system walmart