DENR chief pushes stronger protection drive for critically endangered tamaraw


Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is eyeing stronger protection measures for the critically endangered Philippine tamaraw.

Scientifically called Bubalus mindorensis, the tamaraw is the subject of House bill 8299 or the Tamaraw Conservation Management Act, which aims to conserve the remaining population of the rare animal.

Endemic to the Island of Mindoro, the Philippine Tamaraw is also called the Mindoro dwarf buffalo.

It is smaller than their domesticated cousins, the carabao, but is a sturdy species whose population was nearly wiped out by disease before the 1990s.  Today, tamaraw population continues to suffer from habitat loss and hunting for food.

“We hope that the House of Representatives and the Senate will keep this bill in mind in choosing priorities to ensure that one of our country’s biodiversity treasures is conserved and protected,” Cimatu said in a news statement.

The DENR chief said he also “thoroughly supports the proposed crafting of a Department Administrative Order for the Tamaraw Conservation Program while the said bill is not yet to be a law.”

Cimatu’s statement came as the country observed the National Tamaraw Month in October under the theme: “Tamaraw atin ito, Ipagmalaki mo bilang Pilipino!”

The DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), together with the DENR-Region 4B (Mimaropa), conducted the “Tamaraw Talks” webinar to highlight the conservation and protection efforts and activities implemented by the DENR through the Tamaraw Conservation Program.

The activities were conducted with the assistance of various nongovernment organizations in Mindoro that help in the conservation, protection, and preservation of the remaining population of the Tamaraw in their natural habitat.

In his message during the webinar, DENR-BMB Director Datu Tungko M. Saikol enjoined the public “to pursue and enhance our advocacy for tamaraw conservation to allow future generations to appreciate and marvel at one of the country’s treasures and pride.”

Authored by Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato, HB 8299 calls for the creation of the Tamaraw Conservation Coordinating Council and the Technical Advisory Group, Tamaraw Conservation Program Office, and the Tamaraw Conservation and Research Center that will be in charge of coordination, research, and pertinent activities to ensure that the program’s objectives are met.

The celebration of the National Tamaraw Month is embodied under Presidential Proclamation No. 273, series of 2002, which declares the month of October of every year as a Special Month for the Conservation and Protection of the Tamaraw in Mindoro.

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