Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary
The Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary of Corella, Bohol is an arm of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. (PTFI), a non-stock, non-profit organization established in 1996. The Foundation has been issued a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by DENR to find ways to conserve as well as to promote the tarsier of Bohol.
The tarsiers have been declared to be specially protected faunal species of the Philippines by virtue of Proclamation No. 1030, declared by former Philippine President, Fidel V. Ramos on June 23, 1997.
In this pursuit, a 167 hectares sanctuary has been established by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. covering areas within the municipalities of Corella, Sikatuna and Loboc. This is timberland area currently under the administration of the DENR and is part of the Social Forestry Project. The sanctuary starts at barangay Canapnapan in Corella, Bohol.
These three towns were chosen as the sanctuary site since numerous sightings of the tarsiers have been made within their forested domain. In fact, these were the places where the little creatures were formerly hunted down, captured and then sold to local and foreign visitors.
Declared as a sanctuary, the tarsiers are now allowed to live and reproduce freely in a natural setting. Poaching, killing and even wounding of them are strictly prohibited as well as the destruction of its declared habitat. Possession of the tarsier for educational, scientific or conservation-centered research purposes may be allowed upon certification by the DENR Secretary.
The sanctuary is mostly of secondary growth forest quite extensive and largely uninhabited and isolated from settlements. Portions of the area are open and relatively bare yet majority has lush vegetation mostly of second-growth trees, bamboo clumps, tall grass patches and thick bushes that tarsiers prefer.
One can also observe different fauna and flora in the forested areas. The later has signage with their scientific name, place of origin, geographical distribution, and a brief explanation of their properties and traditional applications.
Within the sanctuary and situated at Corella, the Tarsier Research and Development Center has been established with a visitor’s center complete with a reception and souvenir counter, an exhibition area, an audio-visual room, a mini-cafeteria, toilets, and administration offices. A lounge-deck is outside and a large parking lot beyond which no vehicles are allowed to enter.
The research center will rise within the sanctuary at Corella and this will be fully equipped with a laboratory, veterinary clinic, library, offices and conference rooms, staff quarters and storage. Suitable accommodations will also be provided for visiting scientists and technicians. Access to this center is restricted though.
Trails and pathways spread out to various parts of the sanctuary where the tarsiers can be observed in their natural habitat either with the naked eye or through binoculars. Viewing decks have been set up at ground level and some atop elevated platforms to facilitate proper sightings.
The “Tarsier Trail” has been set up by the Foundation within the forested area. The pathway winds its way thru the gently rolling terrain of the interior towns of Corella, Sikatuna and Loboc. The trail is over a distance of about 15 kilometers with established vantage points along the way.
The sanctuary is envisioned to grow with the move of the Foundation for reforestation; another priority project of the group. Portion of the sanctuary will be set aside for the cultivation and propagation of hardwoods, bamboo, varieties of palms and ferns, herbal, flowering plus medicinal plants especially those with commercial value.