There are currently 523 tamaraws in the mountains of Iglit-Baco in Occidental Mindoro, a 30% increase from last year’s count of 401. This milestone is a result of the joint efforts of Far Eastern University (FEU), the Department of Natural Resources (DENR), and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines.
Another milestone is the recent sighting of at least 30 tamaraws in Oriental Mindoro, where the endemic beasts were last seen 130 years ago. Further survey and study of the area will be part of the future plans of the private-public partnerships.
The national land animal of the Philippines, as declared by the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture in December 2017, may have increased in number but is still in the list of the critically-endangered animals. Continuous efforts to protect the tamaraw are needed.
“In 2005, FEU launched its own efforts to protect the tamaraws. This year, FEU partners anew with WWF to strengthen our commitment to protecting the Tamaraws’ habitat,” explains FEU Director for Community Extension Services Dr. Marilou Cao.
Now on its second year, the TAMWorld Roving Exhibit intensifies its awareness campaign by giving the public an opportunity to learn more about the endemic tamaraws. After touring various FEU campuses in 2017, the exhibit will now be displayed around commercial malls, enabling more people to discover the world of tamaraws through photographs and artwork done by TAMBayani artist volunteers from various universities and art associations led by the FEU Fine Art alumni. Its first stop was at the Fora Mall in Tagaytay.
To strengthen the objective of educating the next generation about the need for preservation of this endangered species and conservation of the environment, students from nearby schools and colleges in the CALABARZON area were also invited to participate in a series of interactive for a.
WWF President Jose Angelito Palma shared, “When we partnered with FEU in 2012, the objective was to double the number of tamaraws from then 300 to 600 by 2020, and we are getting there. It is not about breeding the tamaraws but it is about taking care of their habitats and working with communities that surround them that generated such positive results.”
“We also have programs support the needs of the tamaraw rangers because we believe that their service and sacrifice to protect the tamaraws played a large role in increasing in the population,” adds Cao.
The TAMWorld Roving Exhibit is a collaboration between FEU-Cavite, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines, Department of Tourism (Occidental & Oriental Mindoro), Educational Foundation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Tamaraw Conservation Program (TCP), Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation (MBCFI), and the Art Association Novaliches.