The annual EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) conference was held in Edinburgh in the last week of September. As a part of the programme for the Saturday afternoon there was a section about endangered Philippine species. During this session Milada Řeháková presented a summary of successes and plans of the Tarsius project. Following a short introduction of the Philippine tarsier and summarizing of the biggest threats causing the decrease of the wild population she spoke about two-year research of tarsier behaviour using miniature radio transmitters. Two scientific articles have already been published in research journals (find more here and here) as we have already informed on our website and others are being prepared. The Tarsius project focuses also on conservation education of local people in cooperation with local schools and especially in the grounds of Simply Butterflies Conservation Centre, newly renamed as Bohol Habitat Conservation Centre. Here, thanks to the grant from Czech Ministry of Foreign affairs we have equipped a new “tarsier showroom” – photos, poster, audio-visual panel with video recording or sounds of tarsiers and other animals living on Bohol Island (find more). Milada mentioned also the huge success from years 2010/2011. Following our recommendations a meeting focused on abuse of tarsiers as a tourist attraction was held. As a consequence all the no suitable tarsier spots were closed and all animals transferred to a newly opened enclosure (find more).
The Tarsius project aims now to develop a tarsier conservation centre in Bilar, Bohol. Besides the already mentioned tarsier showroom we have started Night safari tours where tourists can experience being in the night jungle in the Rajah Sikatuna National Park (find more). They can spot tarsiers or flying lemurs, frogmouth, owl or simply listen to a concert of crickets or frogs. Our biggest challenge that we currently intensively work on is establishing of a breeding centre for the Philippine tarsiers. They are currently not kept successfully anywhere in captivity.