Tarsier Research and Development Center

The Tarsier Research and Development Center has been established by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation in Corella. The Center lies within the 8.4 hectare of land bought by the Foundation specifically for the purpose of preserving the tarsier there thru captive breeding, feeding and display.

The Center has a visitor’s complex, the building of which is made of concrete, simple and neatly constructed. It has a reception area and an audio-visual room where visitors are oriented with the unique characteristics and habits of the tarsier through photos and presentations.

It has a souvenir shop selling tarsier t-shirts, toys and other tarsier mementos. A mini-cafeteria, toilets, and administration offices are provided. A lounge deck is outside as well as a parking lot. Beyond the designated parking lot, no vehicles are allowed to enter.

Literatures on the tarsiers and their pictures are displayed as well as a scale model of the sanctuary. A partial skeleton of a tarsier is also displayed. It is very small yet very interesting to look at. Two round and large holes apparently accommodate the eyes which are quite large and too big for its small face. The literature says that the eyes are even bigger than its brain case.

The building where research is to be done will soon rise. It will have a fully equipped laboratory, veterinary clinic, library, offices and conference rooms, staff quarters and a storage area. Accommodations will be provided for visiting scientists and technicians as well. Access to this center will actually be restricted.

From the visitor complex, trails and pathways spread out to various parts of the sanctuary, where the tarsier can be observed in its natural habitat either with the naked eye or through binoculars. Viewing decks have been erected at ground level or atop elevated platforms.

The trails will display a wide variety of fauna and flora, the later bearing signage giving their scientific name, place of origin, geographical distribution and brief explanation of their properties and traditional applications.

A short distance away from the building is an enclosure, said to cover an area of 7000 square meters. The seven-foot high fence built to protect the tarsiers from predators like feral cats as well as from poachers and hunters separate the area from the surrounding forest.

Within this spacious net enclosure, 100 of these animals are kept for feeding, captive breeding and display. Visitors can now observe them in their natural habitat. Some of the animals have been kept in captivity before and accustomed to humans hence they do not get startled easily.

During sightings, they just cling to the branches where they are on and are quite immobile giving time for visitors to take pictures. One observes how these animals can move their heads entirely 180 degrees to see who are approaching them at their back.

The untamed ones scurry away at any slightest movement and jumps from tree to tree. You will be surprised how agile they are, even jumping up to 10 feet or more.

The tarsiers freely roam around the enclosure although at night, some of them climb up the fence to forage for food in the surrounding forest. As if on cue, though, they return before daybreak inside the enclosure and sleep the rest of the day. If ever they are found roaming around during daytime, they appear to be sluggish.

Reference: http://www.tarsierfoundation.org/content



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