Tamaraw count drops
By: Deniel Salvador B. Morillo

 

From 413 in 2016, the count of Tamaraws (Bubalus mindorensis) in Mts. Iglit - Baco National Park (MIBNP), Occidental Mindoro slid to 401 this year.

table re tamaraw

The drop in the number of the Tamaraw or the Philippine Dwarf Buffalo may be attributed to the presence of balatiks or native hunting traps used by the Mangyans in the area, as reported during the annual Tamaraw Population Count held on April 22 - 26, 2017.

tamaraw mbcfi copyThe Tamaraw is on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and is classified as critically endangered—the highest risk rating for animal species. The IUCN Red List is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the conservation status of plant and animal species.

MIBNP is the core habitat of the Tamaraws and is also the home of the indigenous people’s (IP) group Tau-Buid, commonly referred to as Mangyans. In accordance with Republic Act No. 8371 or The Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997, IPs have Sustainable Traditional Resource Rights or the right to use, manage, protect and conserve land, air, water, and minerals; plants, animals and other organisms; collecting, fishing and hunting grounds; sacred sites; in accordance with their indigenous knowledge, beliefs, systems and practices. The same law also provides the IPs the right to claim ownership over lands, bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by IPs, sacred places, traditional hunting and fishing grounds, and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains.

Recognizing both the rights of the IPs and the urgent need to protect the Tamaraws, the Tamaraw Conservation Program (TCP) of the DENR entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), with Mangyan tribe leaders, designating an area where the Mangyans can practice traditional hunting.

Herold S. Castro, Field Operations Assistant of the MIBNP, explained that despite the agreement, some members of the Mangyan tribe still place balatiks outside the designated hunting area, trapping and killing animals including the Tamaraws. The TCP is having continuous talks with the tribe leaders to address the issue and to further strengthen the agreement on the protection of the Tamaraws.

 

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PANGAPAT

DENR apprehends driver transporting dead wildlife

The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Puerto Princesa City, together with the Philippine National Police, apprehended today the driver of an unplated elf truck carrying dead marine turtles and pangolins while passing through a security checkpoint station in Brgy. Sta. Lourdes.

Officials of CENRO PPC's Regulation and Enforcement Unit assigned in the station identified the driver as Joshue A. Calinog, who was also found to have an unlicensed .38 caliber pistol.

Palawan’s Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Felizardo Cayatoc said Calinog was driving the truck loaded with 21 pangolins which scales were removed and then frozen; and 16 marine turtles (one green and 15 hawksbill), which intestinal parts were also removed and with only their heads and shells left intact. Pangolins and sea turtles are endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Authorities reported that the truck was from Roxas town. They have questioned Calinog but he had kept mum about the species. The driver was turned over to the police, while the wildlife species were brought to Palawan Council for Sustainable Development for proper documentation.

As this develops, DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Henry Adornado has instructed the PENRO and CENRO concerned to coordinate with the authorities for the immediate filing of appropriate charges against the offender in view of the provisions of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, and other laws. He also instructed all regional and field personnel to be more vigilant and intensify monitoring operations to track down and prevent unscrupulous individuals or groups from harming nature and wildlife.

“It was clear from the President’s State of the Nation Address. Protection of the environment must be our top priority. It will be a long journey and we are certain we will face a lot of challenges ahead. But we are more than ready to heed the call. Strategic measures are already in place and we are closely working with other agencies to strictly implement environmental laws and improve our operations. We can assure the public that we, at the DENR, uphold the welfare of our environment and natural resources above all else,” he said. ###

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