Research and conservation of engangered species of the Philippines

nártoun filipínský - foto Milada ŘehákováThis project focuses on research and conservation of endangered species of the Philippine fauna in-situ, in area of origin. The Philippines belongs to biodiversity hotspots with high degree of threat, where conservation efforts should be concentrated.

Since the beginning we focus on the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta).

Tarsius syrichta The Philippine tarsier is an insectivorous primate with huge eyes and very long legs and fingers. You can hold its body on your palm. Researchers don not have many information about this interesting creature so far. Only one species Tarsius syrichta, is found in the Philippines. The Philippine tarsier lives in last remains of forest on few Philippines islands. Tarsiers are endangered especially due to habitat loss and also hunting for pet trade because of their cute appearance.

Besides tarsiers we focus on endangered species of Dinagat Island. During our fieldwork in 2012 we rediscovered the bushy-tailed cloud rat (Crateromys australis) and since then we focus on field surveys and habitat protection.

Goal of the Tarsius project is integration of research, conservation and education of broad public community.

 

What we have succeeded so far?

RESEARCH OF FREE-RANGING TARSIERS

Radio-telemetry (by Petr Slavík)

The Philippine tarsier is one of the least known nocturnal primates. Detailed information about its biology is still lacking. In 2009-2010 we conducted a radio-telemetric study focused on behaviour, home-range use, social system and communication of the Philippine tarsier. During the two years we collected valuable data on two localities. The data are now being analysed and will not only increase our knowledge about this unique species but will also serve as a basis for future conservation activities. The progress of the research was presented on several international conferences; results are being prepared for publication in scientific journals, with two papers already accepted (International Journal of Zoology, Acta Ethologica).

 

SITUATION OF CAPTIVE TARSIERS IN TOURIST CENTRES

Tarsiers as a tourist attraction (by Milada Řeháková)

In 2010 we became involved in monitoring of the situation of captive tarsiers abused as a tourist attraction of the main tourist route on Bohol. Based on our survey presented to the minister of environment and other authorities a special meeting focusing on captive tarsier on Bohol was held in December 2010. We suggested also guidelines for improvement of the tarsier keeping facilities that serve as an important source of information for locals. As a consequence, all the tarsiers from those facilities were transferred into a bigger and naturally planted enclosure in July 2011.

 

BREEDING CENTRE FOR TARSIERS

Following this we have decided to establish a breeding centre in Bilar, Philippines in cooperation with Wings of Serenity (organization running also Habitat Bohol Conservation Centre, formerly Simply Butterflies) as a first centre focusing on conservation and research tarsier in the scientific way. The centre was established in the Philippines, eliminating the possibly most important factors that might cause the failure in the zoos in the past – stress during the transport, climate and food. In 2012 we started building of the centre and in 2014 we got our first male and the next year a female. In 2017 we had a successfull breeding and a tarsier baby was born. It is a huge succes not only in the Philippines but also in international zoology because the baby survived the critical period after birth and also survived beyond its first year which is the period when most of the captive bred tarsiers died in the past. In 2018 Wings of Serenity took over the overall running and management of the centre after Tarsius Project shared all experiences and knowledge.

 

This rediscovery help to raise conservation activities and start a project focusing on mapping and establishing of 1000ha of protected areas on Dinagat Island. In November-December 2016 czech-filipino expedition succeeded to document the cloud rat again after almost five years, as well as other species including tarsier. Another huge success is the finding of Dinagat Gymnure, related to hedgehogs, which is for the first time when this elusive species has been photographed and videorecorded in the wild. Read more.

 

CONSERVATION EDUCATION

Programme for schools (by Milada Řeháková)

In our project we focus on raising awareness and organizing conservation educational activities in cooperation with our partners. We focus on training of local workers and young conservationists that will be involved in tarsier conservation. We organize presentations for local schools; together with the Philippine Science High School we lead 2 weeks internship programme in 2009-2010.In 2014-2017 we developed several educational programmes that were joined by more than 800 pupils and teachers. Together with Bohol Habitat Conservation Centre in Bilar we focus on education of visitors. We produce informative posters in local and English language for visitors in tarsier habitat areas and promotional leaflets in local and English language for local and foreigner visitors. We organize presentation for broad audience in Czech Republic and write reportages for magazines and newspapers. The documentary film about the Tarsius project was made in Czech and English version in 2011.

 

NIGH SAFARI

As a part of the Tarsius project we focused on promoting ecotourism in Rajah Sikatuna. Therefore,together with Habitat Bohol Conservation Centre we have developed organized trips to the national park that raise awareness about necessity of nature conservation and at the same time provide benefits and alternative or additional livelihood for local residents. This is achieved by organizing night safaris in neighbouring Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape. Visitors have possibility to observe various wildlife including monkeys, flying lemurs, tarsiers, owls, various insects and plants. They are guided by a trained English speaking local guide and a local spotter who is a previous hunter employed by the Tarsius project since 2010. It brings unique experience of being in the night forests which influences all human senses. It helps to educate local people and change their attitude to nature conservation. More info here.

 

 

 

 

News about the project can be found on our web site.