Avilon Zoo

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Avilon logo.jpg

Avilon is a privately-operated zoological and botanical park located in the province of Rodriguez, Rizal. To date it is the largest zoological garden in the Philippines, with a total area of 7.5 hectares. [1]



Avilon zoo is a child-friendly park
Visitors are toured by professional guides

Avilon Zoo was just a simple rice plantation when Mr. Jake Gaw, an avid animal hobbyist, got interested with the parcel of land to be the home of his pet lion. He initially purchased a 4.5-hectare area in 1992, [1] and built a structure doubling as a weekend getaway for his family and a permanent home for his other pets. He made this decision when complaints over his feline pet from his neighbors in Quezon City arose.

By 1994, Gaw decided to level the land within Avilon and build its perimeter walls. The construction team began excavation of several man-made lagoons and ponds, one of which comprises an area of 3,000 square meters. [3] Construction of exhibit areas, a multi-purpose building (now the Herpetarium), the hexagonal birdcages (now the Avian Exhibit), and animal enclosures followed the next year.

Gaw's passion for animals and his newly created paradise extended to his friends. Some private individuals got interested in the facility and decided to share their pets. Even Fr. Robert Reyes, a renowned Catholic priest, lent his saltwater crocodile to the zoo [2]. A Sumatran Tiger who had a previous owner was also turned over for proper care.

In 1995, the zoo was officially named Avilon, a fusion of the Latin word "aves" meaning "of or about birds", and the French "lon" meaning "land". Avilon opened its door to the public during the third quarter of 2003. [3]

Avilon Wildlife Conservation Foundation, Inc.


Upon the visit of Jake's wife, Teena Gaw, during the construction area of Avilon, she saw its potential as a place for students to know more about wildlife and nature. She proposed that the place include guided zoo tours and educational field trips, so visitors can observe and learn about the ecology and behavior of the animals. And with an aim of disseminating information on the protection and conservation of the threatened and endangered species, The Wildlife Conservation, Inc. [1] was formed and became Avilon Zoo's operator.

The foundation is now planning to acquire larger species of mammals such as the rhinoceros, zebras, giraffes, and Asian elephants. [4]

The Facility

The Philippine Eagle Owl is one of the endemic animals in the Philippines

Avilon is now the home for more than 3,000 specimens of exotic animals represented by more than 600 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, fishes and invertebrates, as well as close to 400 species of plants, more than 50% of which are endemic to the country. In-house animals include the Balabac mouse deer, the Palawan tree shrew, the Philippine Eagle-Owl and arapaimas.

The facility simulates the animals' natural habitat. Epiphytes, vines and shrubs were introduced to the once barren landscape in order to create a natural setting. A greenhouse was also built to house and propagate plants for landscaping use.

Avilon Zoo has several departments that caters to different fields of study, and each has its respective curator, veterinarian, supervisors, and keepers. These branches are the Departments Of Herpetology, Arachnology, Ichthyology, Ornithology, Mammalogy, Wildlife Nursery, the Veterinary Medicine and Quarantine, Laboratory Medicine, and Animal Nutrition. [3]


  1. ^ Avilon Zoo places Montalban on the tourist map. Manila Bulletin article by Therese J. Camet, Accessed on (Oct.29,2007).
  2. ^ Asia Finest Forum on Avilon. Accessed on (Oct.29,2007).
  3. ^ Avilon Zoo Homepage. Accessed on (Oct.29,2007).
  4. ^ The Zoo for All Season!. Article for Global Pinoy by by: Donna Castillo. Accessed on (Nov.4,2007).

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