The Zoo Paradise of the world is situated in Barangay Salngan in the town of Zamboangita, Negros Oriental. It was spearheaded by the late Eleuterio Tropa, a former Catholic priest who formed his own religious sect cum environmentalist group who called themselves “The Lamplighters”.
The mission and motto of their organization is to “love one another and love nature”. All members were once required to don black shirts paired with red and green striped pants. Cutting of hair was prohibited for both men and women and nobody was allowed to wear slippers. They all actually walked around barefoot even when they visited the city, catching the attention of many.
The zoo, also called Spaceship 2000 ET is an extensive ipil-ipil forested area enclosed by a perimeter fence. Inside you can find birds of varied species and zoo animals such as a snake, a tiger, crocodile and some monkeys. Members of the sect walk around freely to feed and pet the animals.
Father Tropa was an active environmentalist with the good of everybody always on top of his concerns. He led a very simple life with only the basic amenities with hardly ever a room for luxuries. Father Tropa was also a staunch believer in the healing properties of nature such that he and his members concocted herbal medicines to treat whatever ailments they suffered from. The Zoo Paradise of the World was his personal mission. It is a unique manifestation of the life that he had chosen to live – one that was far from civilization.
When Father Tropa died in the year 1993, all of his personal effects and memorabilia became added an element of interest in the zoo. Also preserved are stuffed wild animals that are larger than life. The zoo has a small shop where you can find handmade odds and ends that make for souvenir items. At present, the surviving relatives of Father Tropa have taken on the operations of the zoo and have continued to uphold the legacy that he has left behind.
Today the Zoo Paradise remains to be an ideal site for an excursion. Students from elementary schools arriving in buses are some of the most frequent visitors. With a very low entrance cost, one is free to view and enjoy the collection of live animals. A zoo keeper may also be requested to accompany the tour. Children are even encouraged to feed harmless animals like the monkeys and fishes. It takes around 30 minutes to get to the zoo from Dumaguete City. Take the