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Bizarre experiment leaves animals deformed, threatened


March 26, 1999
Web posted at: 7:44 p.m. EST (0044 GMT)

CALUIT, Philippines (CNN) -- Giraffes with unusually short necks. Zebras with abnormal stripes and smaller torsos. Welcome to a bizarre safari on the remote island of Caluit in the South China sea.

It's animals are suffering from the effects of an experiment begun 20 years ago by late President Ferdinand Marcos, who set up the park to import animals from Kenya, once under threat from civil war.

Because only a few animals from each species were brought in, there was widespread inbreeding.


"They're already there so we might as well do something about it," said animal caretaker Dr. Mundita Lim. "But if we could turn back time, it should not have been done in the first place."

The animals suffered from being placed in an environment they're not used to. Then, says Lim, nobody knew how to care for them. And today, the animals are paying the price.

The giraffes, for example, suffered wounds and broken limbs after violent storms charged into mangrove swamps.

There are few options for improving the situation.

Transporting the animals back to their native Africa isn't possible, and there's no suitable parkland in the Philippines. Lim says the animals will just have to keep struggling to survive and adapt.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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