Pardon the touch of sensationalism. I am supposed to be on the last leg of my vacation in the romantic chilly North a I write this! However, I just couldn’t believe what my fellow Bulletin tech columnist Jerry Liao emailed me today, about the albino snake in the Ark Avilon Zoo biting his daughter a few days back. Me and my kids were one of the first visitors to the zoo, having been there during the second day after it opened. Saw the white snake ourselves, and it’s just good that we didn’t keep too close, me being deathly afraid of this reptile.
Okay, so we learn from Jerry that the albino snake is the “non-venomous type. ” Still, that doesn’t excuse the seemingly indifferent attitude of the zoo management on the matter. A snake bite is a snake bite and being bitten by a snake, no matter how innocuous, is still there on one of the top horrific experiences in my book. A zoo handler even had the gall to say to a shocked Jerry afterwards: “Baka masarap ang daliri ng anak mo kaya kinagat.” (Maybe the finger of your child is yummy enough that’s why it was bitten).
The least I would like to happen is to have this matter blown out of proportion. After all, the Avilon zoos in Pasig and Montalban are doing a great job of educating the children. Changes should be implemented after this incident and the proper apologies/explanation made.
Here’ s the full text of Jerry Liao’s story:
” My family and I visited the new Arc of Avilon (AoA) Zoo located at Frontera Verde near Tiendesitas in Pasig last January 5, 2008. The highlight of the said zoo is they allow people especially kids to touch their animals like orangutan, donkey, parrots, eagles, rabbits, tortoise and snakes.
And when you allow your kids to touch these animals, you trust that the animals are harmless and are trained not to hurt its visitors.
Unfortunately, my 2nd daughter was bitten by an Albino King Snake. Her finger was bleeding so I quickly ask where the clinic was located. I saw a sign that read Hospital/Quarantine, I quickly open the door but found nothing inside but some cages and two people talking. I ask if there’s a doctor there and they said none. Then the king snake handler came over and directed us to follow him. I thought we would be brought to a clinic. To my dismay, we were brought to a dirty pantry full of flies. And the handler administered Betadine to my daughter’s finger, which was stored in a soy sauce gallon container. A park with no clinic, no doctor and no medicine.
I took my daughter to the hospital, and upon reaching the hospital the first question was what kind of snake bit my daughter. I told them its an Albino King Snake. They were not sure whether the king snake is a venomous or a non-venomous snake. They said they had to consult an expert about this. After awhile, Thank God that the king snake was a non-venomous one. But the doctors wanted to be sure so they gave my daughter an anti-tetanus drug and ask her to take anti-biotics for seven days.
After reaching home, I texted both Jake and Tina Gaw (owners of AoA) that the doctor asked us to observe my daughters condition. I also told them that I am going to write about this horrible experience. Tina texted back and said: “Jerry, if thats how bad you felt, I respect your personal feelings concerning the incident. I wish she (my daughter) could have been more careful in handling the snake or other pets as well especially this one is exotic. Even tame ones, rabbit, tortoise, mouse, pig bite when they felt hurt or frighten when not properly handled. And its really sad when you felt it became a horrible issue.”
First of all, that was a very insensitive remark from AoA, blaming my daughter for the incident. Being bitten by a snake is not only horrible but a traumatic one as well. What are the chances that you will get bitten by a snake in the metropolis? Worst in a theme park like Arc of Avilon.
If AoA is saying that there is always a possibility that visitors will be bitten everytime animals are mishandled, then do not allow the animals to be
touched at all. Its bad enough that the animals were taken out of their natural habitat. I don’t think the snake was hurt or frighten, they were tired and
irritated because the animals were being used to entertain people.
Visitors are not trained to handle animals properly especially kids. Let me remind AoA that most of your visitors are children, I even saw some as young as two years old. They will just touch and play with the animals without knowing whether they’re hurting them or not. It is AoA’s responsibility to make sure that none of their animals be hurt or frighten so that biting won’t happen.
And since accidents happen, how come AoA doesn’t even have a clinic to at least administer first-aid treatment. What if the eagles decided to peck the
visitors, or use their big claws to attack the children. Donkey or horse suddenly kicking. And snakes biting. There shoud be a doctor, a clinic and first-aid kit to address this kind of unfortunate incidents. AoA should not allow people to touch a snake that bites plus they should have expert handlers to assist its visitors. What if the snake turns out to be venomous and something happen to my daughter? How would AoA deal with that?
Arc of Avilon management should take full responsiblity and not just say that the snake is a non-venomous one. They did not offer any help and then they will blame the visitors for mishandling the animals.
Am I over reacting? I don’t think so. As a parent, will you take it sitting down? Will you just take their word for it that it’s non-venomous? Remember, its
a snake-bite. Let this be a warning to all my readers who are planning to visit Arc of Avilon at Tiendesitas or any other zoo for that matter.
Let my story be a lesson to all. You can ask your kids to look but as much as possible DO NOT TOUCH. Better yet, DO NOT VISIT the Arc of Avilon totally, until they’ve improve their facilities.
To the management of Arc of Avilon, put your visitors safety first before anything else. We visit your zoo trusting that you care for us and you know what you’re doing. What happen was a nightmare. Not only did my daughter got bitten by a snake, she was even blamed by inconsiderate owners. I am just curious, if the management of Arc of Avilon treat their visitors like the way they treated us, I wonder how they treat their animals inside their zoo.
Never will we go to the Arc of Avilon again. NEVER AGAIN. ”
This is horrific news!
Visitors safety and first-aid management inside zoos and other city-based artificial animal habitats is an issue that is attracting more media coverage, especially with the recent tiger mauling in San Francisco. You’d think AoA management would be more on its toes!
When it comes to human handling, animals are not expected to know better. As Ms Gaw correctly pointed out, even the most domestic of animals can be expected to react by instinct when handled in a manner that they find threatening, and proper handling techniques are not expected from a little child. There should be some trained personnel always present to ensure nothing untoward happens to the animals and to the children.
The appalling lack of first-aid facilities, as well as the frigid way with which AoA management handled what happened to your friend’s daughter, would be enough cause for organizations like the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, an organization that, to my knowledge, has no Philippine equivalent.
I suppose this brings home the fact that snakes are wild animals and no matter much we feel we can ‘tame’ or train them they will remain wild. This snake was was probably frightened and therefore reacted in the only way it knows how, by attacking.
I find the lack of first aid facilities and the way this was dealt with to be just amazing. This child must have been very scared and traumatised by this incident as being bitten by a snake, even a non deadly one, is a bit of a shock – which I know from first hand experience as I had the misfortune to be bitten twice in quick succession by a 6′ boa constrictor a few years ago.
“Baka masarap ang daliri ng anak mo kaya kinagat.” That is such a callous remark! Parang yung sinabi ng sister-in-law ko sa isa kong kapatid na matagal na niyang hindi nakita, “Buhay ka pa pala!” Maybe it was said in the spirit of a joke but it hurts.
BTW, my sister-in-law is no longer welcome in my house but her dog is LOL.
the avilon will let you know their side… you (jerry) should stop circulating this false statement.. you even edited a text message from the owner.. tsk.. tsk.. tsk…
Zoo officials admitted that they proper medical facilities at the zoo. It was shown on TV awhile ago.
What will Jerry gain in circulating false statements? He made it clear on TV that all he wanted is for the zoo management to have the proper medical facilities and expert animal handlers in place to avoid the same incident from happening again. I think that is very commendable.
If there’s anyone lying here, it must be the zoo owners since they need to save the reputation of their business.
Who’s finger was bitten by the snake anyway?
Zoo officials admitted that they DON’T HAVE THE proper medical facilities at the zoo. It was shown on TV awhile ago.
NO he is not over reacting. Accidents do happen and it’s sad that not single person knew how to do first aid certified by the Red Cross.
saw this in Bandila news report last night.
Oh my, how horrible! This is bad, bad, bad press for the zoo. No clinic, terrible response to the offended, bad supervision… ay nakakakilabot.
Em Dy says
Too bad for the business that this happened just when they were starting. But they should have been conscious enough of the dangers of a petting zoo. I’m sure a number will be turned off.
But the lesson to be learned here is that all businesses (zoo, malls, resorts, etc) should have first aid knowledge and emergency equipment.
what a really pompous remark. i was planning to visit Ark Avilon Zoo with my sister but now I’m having 2nd thoughts.
jerry is a parent who’s daughter was bitten by a snake in a zoo. what’s good about that? i would have gone the extra mile and sued the pants off the zoo owners. jerry liao has a good reputation and has treated this matter with kid gloves, that is, by warning the public and not taking the matter to court, where it should have been brought. jerry’s reaction was normal as any parent would have reacted. basta ako, i will warn everyone i know about that zoo, especially my friends with kids.
Oh wow… It’s like hurrying to have lunch, going to a fastfood and the food attendant takes your order, gets it wrong the first try (prompting the intervention of the manager to void the transaction), takes it again, receives your payment, moves to get your food, then comes back empty handed and tells you, your order (the order that she took after you specifically asked if they still had it) as it turns is not available anymore.=& So they once again void the transaction and you place another order and right after paying again and getting your change the attendant as an afterthought tells you that your new order will take 15 minutes to be served!
You suddenly look visibly upset with this news but what really drives you crazy is that the attendant just looks at you puzzled as if wondering what could possibly be the matter.
Happened to me just this week and let me tell you that the actual offense was nowhere near as infuriating as the lack or recognition of the offense by the offender.
At that point I got the manager and made a scene with people lined up behind me.
Jun Laguardia says
BETADINE placed in containers like that are used on horses…
please check that one too.
Isa Pider says
I visited that place recently, and I was bitten by their orangutan. They also blamed me for provoking the animal. Also, when it bit me, the handler didn’t make any move to help me. Result: it bit me a second time.
Good on you not to go there anymore. For sure, they don’t welcome you either. So, for you and you’re kids to get educated in relation to these animals, just watch TV or read books as you pretend to touch, smell and caress a lifeless replica of these animals made out of plastic, rubber, cloths and cottons. You can even sleep with them if you want. He he he. Look, no offense, the only thing i agree is to having a doctor or a vet at AoA. Can’t blame anyone else or whatever except for not having a medical crew in case of such incident. BTW, that’s not that horrible. That’s a very strong word. Your story pa siguro masyado sensentionalized.
I don’t think it’s sensationalized. The truth here is being distorted by the remarks of ignoramous alike. That no matter how the traumatic event is told, Jerry Liao’s daughter is offended and the offender is AoA. If I am in Jerry’s shoes, I would sue, to let the court decide as to wether or not to pull AoA’s license to operate. As for that idiot snake handler, I would have given him a punch in the face for being soo tackless. And for the poor girl bitten she should recieve some therapy for the trauma she is ‘still suffering’.
a punch on his face is not enough for the pain and fear that girl must have experienced. I am so sure the court will also rule that Jerry’s behalf be paid for the damages done.
This is why i’m not that fond of snakes. One might say I’m afraid of them, but no. I’m not afraid of snakes, it’s the bite that i’m afraid of.
It is fortunate that the snake that bit the kid isn’t venomous.
jerry just released his new magazine!Tech innovatin and yech and style!!=)its GREAT! try it!