The Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis), is a critically endangered and an endemic land mammal found only in Mindoro. Its population was estimated to be around 10,000 heads in the early 1900’s but because of a rinderpest outbreak in 1930’s, its population drastically declined.

tamcount01In 1953, Tamaraw population ranged from 200-250 but only about 100 heads was recorded in late 1960’s. This could be the reason why it was given attention in Bangkok Conference of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in 1965 but it was only in 1979 when the Presidential Committee for the Conservation of the Tamaraw (PCCT) was created.

Tamaraw Captive Breeding Program was the focus of the Project wherein 20 Tamaraws were captured in Aruyan, Sablayan to be placed in captivity to the 280-hectare Gene Pool Farm in Manoot, Rizal.

In 1999, a positive change in the Project happened when it refocused its direction and priorities which is to include: (1) Protection and management of the wild population and habitat of the Tamaraw; and (2) Information, Education and Communication campaign.

It was for this objective that a Tamaraw Population Count was conceptualized to determine the population of the Tamaraw in a given area and monitor its population trend.

Tamaraw sightingThe activity is a two-phase undertaking comprise of Actual Count and Data Consolidation Workshop. The Tamaraw Population Count uses the Intensive Concentration Count (ICC) or the Simultaneous Multi-Vantage Point Count Method. The study area covers the core habitat of the Tamaraw within Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park (MIBNP) which is approximately 16,000 hectares. Initially, there were 16 observation sites established and another two sites were added for 2008.

It became a regular activity since year 2000 and the following are the estimated Tamaraw population per year: 2000-154; 2001-187; 2002-253; 2003-261; 2004-232; 2005-269; 2006-263; 2007-239; 2008-263; 2009-274; and 2010-314.

Every Tamaraw Count, representatives from other sectors and potential collaborators are being invited to participate in the activity. The purpose of this is to show transparency, dependability and integrity of the study as well as encourage participants to join in the conservation of the Tamaraw through partnership in research undertakings, among other

The latest estimated Tamaraw population in MIBNP displays an increasing trend and this gives good hope for the conservation of the Tamaraw. Similarly, the figure manifests the excellent and dedicated performance of the Tamaraw Conservation Program (TCP) field personnel - the Tamaraw Bantay Teams (TBT) who are very much committed in doing their responsibilities towards the protection and conservation of the Tamaraw. (Maria Teresita Pineda, Jr.-David)