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Stop Feeding Tarsiers

by Mars W. Mosqueda Jr

Tarsier establishment operators have committed to stop feeding tarsiers, an endangered primate, indigenous to the Philippines and found in the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.

At the same time, they have also promised further actions to protect and conserve the primate during the recent technical conference with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) authorities here recently.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Nestor Canda said he would endorse the agreements DENR has forged with the tarsier establishment operators in Loboc to the provincial legislators as inputs to guide them..

Canda said the DENR has asked for the conference as a way of probing the recent complaint of tarsier abuse filed by a tourist with the Sanguiang Panlalawigan (SP) Tourism Committee and consequently with the Provincial Tourism Council.

The complainant, who took a video footage of how a group of Asian tourists poked tarsiers’ midribs was allegedly threatened by a Cebu-based tourist guide.

Boholano groups vowed separate probes on the incident as the province’s top environment officer said he reviewed the stipulations of the wildlife permits issued to operators.

Claiming that the incident was unfortunate, he reported that the operators have committed to pro-conservation actions to keep their tarsiers on display.

Aside from strict implementation of a no-feeding policy which covers the tarsiers, operators also vowed to police tourists so that the endangered primates are not touched, cameras used in taking their pictures would not use flash bulbs that would frighten the tarsiers.

An agreement on the carrying capacity of the establishment would be implemented and under such agreement, the number of tourists in one tarsier area would now be limited.

Operators vowed to monitor each other's wildlife farms and report incidents of abuse.

Canda said with such developments, it may not be long before tarsier operators will be organizing themselves to better guard the endangered primates they keep, Canda reports.

The long- term vision is to get the establishment operators to adopt a common sanctuary for tarsier viewing so they could unify and implement the agreements for guests to follow.

By Mars W. Mosqueda Jr., a Filipino journalist/writer based in Cebu City. You may contact him at marsdotmosquedaatgmaildotcom

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