Ex­otic 101

Animal Scene - - ANIMALS ON THE SCENE -

The re­cent “Ex­otic 101” event show­cased dif­fer­ent an­i­mals and plants in its thrust to in­tro­duce the ex­otic keep­ing hobby to par­tic­i­pants, and to cre­ate aware­ness re­gard­ing re­spon­si­ble and le­gal pet keep­ing. Held at the Z Square Mall in Que­zon City, Ex­otic 101 was aimed at ad­dress­ing how the hobby of car­ing for ex­otic plants and an­i­mals in Manila has long been an

un­der­ground and dis­or­ga­nized sub-cul­ture, with most hob­by­ists hav­ing at least one story about be­ing conned by scam­mers, or about in­fight­ing among hob­by­ists. There is also ap­pre­hen­sion about not know­ing where to get in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing ex­otic pet and plant keep­ing―and more im­por­tantly, a lack of aware­ness re­gard­ing Re­pub­lic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Re­sources Con­ser­va­tion and Pro­tec­tion Act (WRCPA) de­spite the bur­geon­ing in­ter­est in ex­otic crea­tures. Thus the flora and fauna se­lected for the ex­hibit were care­fully cho­sen to help ed­u­cate all guests on re­spon­si­ble pet keep­ing. Par­tic­i­pants paid a min­i­mal fee to en­ter the ex­hibit area and in­ter­act with crea­tures they were very much un­likely to find in zoos, but were cu­ri­ous about: taran­tu­las, scor­pi­ons, a very col­or­ful centipede, non­ven­omous snakes, a ball python (and an al­bino Burmese python), Pac­man frogs, leop­ard geckos in a plethora of morphs with con­trast­ing color com­bi­na­tions, friendly bearded dragons, a green iguana, and tame sugar glid­ers. There were also col­or­ful birds, in­clud­ing para­keets, African love­birds, cock­atiels; an as­sort­ment of ro­dents like ham­sters and a tame large rat. Other visi­tors were drawn to the un­com­mon dis­play of car­niv­o­rous plants like sun­dews, Venus fly­traps, trum­pet plants, and some im­pres­sively sized pitcher plants. Guests got to take their photos with the an­i­mals and plants they were most in­ter­ested in. Though the or­ga­niz­ers, Keep­ers of Ex­treme Ex­otics Philip­pines or KEEP, ex­pected at­ten­dees to be teens and young adults, fam­i­lies also flocked to see the crea­tures and plants on dis­play. With the goal of ed­u­ca­tion through aware­ness, KEEP has a lineup of fu­ture ex­hibits through which they in­tend to show­case more species and work with more col­lab­o­ra­tors to ed­u­cate the public and to dis­si­pate fear and mis­con­cep­tions about the un­fa­mil­iar and to pro­tect and con­serve the plants and an­i­mals that KEEP and its part­ners are pas­sion­ate about. KEEP se­cured DENR pa­pers for all ex­hibit sub­jects, in­clud­ing lo­cal trans­port per­mits and cer­tifi­cates of wildlife reg­is­tra­tion in keep­ing with their ad­vo­cacy for the le­gal own­er­ship of such crea­tures to dis­cour­age poach­ing, en­dan­ger­ment of wild spec­i­mens, and ir­re­spon­si­ble keep­ing. Why go to such lengths? Ryan Uy, co-founder of KEEP, says, “KEEP (aims) to build a com­mu­nity of re­spon­si­ble hob­by­ists. This means mak­ing peo­ple aware of WRCPA and the pro­ce­dure for reg­is­ter­ing their ex­otic pets with the DENR. Part and par­cel of this ad­vo­cacy is let­ting peo­ple know what pets are le­gal to keep and how to get them. This will pro­tect hob­by­ists from un­scrupu­lous in­di­vid­u­als, most of whom take ad­van­tage of over-ea­ger new­bies by selling mis­la­beled, sick, or poached wildlife.” Those in­ter­ested in ex­otic pets, or who would like to learn more about re­spon­si­ble, le­gal ex­otic pet keep­ing can go to KEEP’S Face­book fan page, https://www.face­book. com/keep­atid.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.