Giraffes in the Philippines a dictator’s legacy
CALAUIT ISLAND, Philippines (AFP) – With a taste for tropical fruit and a reputation as thieves, a herd of giraffes on a remote Philippine island is one of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’s most intriguing legacies.
The 20 giraffes, along with dozens of zebra and antelope, are descendants of a boatload of animals imported from Africa in the 1970s – supposedly in a Noah’s Ark-style effort to save them from extinction.
They were brought to tiny Calauit Island, where under a Marcos decree the locals were moved elsewhere to make way for the strange new inhabitants and bamboo forests were cleared so the lowlands resembled the savannahs of Kenya.
Today just over 100 African animals – roughly the same number as the original batch – roam the island.
The wild animals were imported from Africa in 1970s to save them from extinction. The imported animals include 20 giraffes, dozens of zebra and antelopes. Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the locals to move other places and then he ordered to clear the bamboo forests to make the place similar to the savannahs of Kenya. Today, the African animals still roaming around the island and the number of animals is roughly the same as the original number.