A safari experience at the mall

FROM a cozy mall, Robinsons Place Bacolod has transformed into a wild safari of Africa, at least its fountain area, as it opened an exciting, entertaining and educational exhibit of wildlife animals last Friday.

Called Destination Exotica, the exhibit transformed the mall's fountain into a wild forest with birds chirping, lion roaring and different sounds of nature to bring you a virtual feeling of being in the jungle.

Destination Exotica features different species of snakes like red-tail boas, Burmese python, ball python, blood python, green tree python, carpet python, and corn snakes; lizards like Mexican green iguana, bearded dragon, veiled chameleon, leopard gecko, frog-eyed gecko, and Savanah monitor lizard; mammals like sugar glider and African hedgehogs; and invertebrates such as tarantula, scorpions, and centipedes.

Gracing the opening ceremonies of the exhibit were Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella, Robinsons Land Corp. operations director for VisMin Joseph Sian, Glo Feleciano of CENRO, and Matt Montalbo of Bacolod Exotic Animal Keepers (BEAK).

People from all ages who visited the three-day exhibit were amazed how these wild animals, which usually bring us a scare, eventually gave them the feeling of wonder and amusement.

Around a hundred exotic animals were exhibited. These animals coming from different parts of the world which usually can only be seen on TV were showcased by BEAK in partnership with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

"A group of friends with the same passion," BEAK head Matt Montalbo, describes their group.

Founded only last year, BEAK aims to promote the conservation of wildlife. It is a group of individuals with a unique interest in wildlife promoting awareness to the public, helps educate in terms of proper and responsible pet keeping as well as the health and safety considerations in handling animals.

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