DAF participated to the 27th annual Biodiversity Symposium which happened in Pampanga State Agricultural University. This year, DAF gave the chance to two of our young Mangyan Field Technical Assistant and Tamaraw Ranger collaborator to be at the front line of the symposium. They presented the on-going research work conducted by Alvaro, DAF’s Tamaraw Research Officer.
A major step towards the finalization of the Protected Area General Management Plan was reached thanks to a wide working meeting that gathered nearly 25 local stakeholders, IP representatives and international partners for a full week. The workshop was facilitated by Mike Appleton, from Global Wildlife Conservation whose expertise is of great help to assist and support the Protected Area Office in its mission.
This work meeting takes us a few steps forward towards the production of the Park Management Plan.
Following the last verification survey, the Governor of Oriental Mindoro invited the DENR and its partners to celebrate the “re-discovery” of the species in the Province; the skull that was found during the last survey was then turned over to the Province Capitol. The Province is eager to be more engaged in further conservation efforts.
The event was also the opportunity to emphasize that this Tamaraw population is within the Ancestral Domain of the Mangyan-Alangan Tribe. This discovery must become a chance for the Tribe to structure and strengthen its rights and plans over their land title, while ensuring that the natural environment of these mountains will be better protected.
Together with the DENR-TCP and support from MBCFi partner, a third journey to the heart of Mindoro was conducted to complete the assessment of the newly confirmed population of Tamaraw. The team composed of DAF IP Field Technical Assistant, TCP rangers and MBCFi biologists, together with local Mangyan-Alangan guides and porters was focusing its attention to the east side of the surveyed range. The mission confirms the presence of Tamaraw in Oriental Mindoro, which is a major discovery for the Province.
Results show that Tamaraw range is larger than previously though. This proves that Mindoro is still sheltering substantial wild Tamaraw populations, which is a positive sign for long term conservation.
Since the beginning of the rainy season, the field research team – in a multi-collaborative effort involving DAF, TCP and the local community – has been working to gather information on tamaraw ecology and habitats. The field team, consisting of DAF’s Mangyan Field Technical Assistants, some Tamaraw Rangers and local Fufuamas (Mangyan elders), have been working with the lead of the Tamaraw Research Officer (Alvaro Gonzalez), looking at the species composition and mouvements in the tamaraw habitat. This is a great opportunity to learn from the local expertise of the Fufuamas who add critical knowledge in our tamaraw conservation mission, and for the protected area management plans.
Last June, DAF provided computer literacy training with the Mindoro Technical and Vocational Skills Training Center, inc. Field Technical Assistants and several Tamaraw rangers, most of which are Tao-Buid Mangyans, were trained in order to build know-how for the Tamaraw Conservation Program.
Last March, the new Tamaraw Research Officer, Alvaro Gonzalez Monge, began work by visiting Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park in preparation for his upcoming work on tamaraw ecology and habitat assessment. The team visited habitats in different areas inside the Park to assess the methodology that will be used in the coming months for the project.
The tamaraw annual count was carried out 16-21 of last April in Mounts Iglit-Baco Natural Park, Occidental Mindoro. DAF took part in it by providing field and technical personnel to aid in the effort, including Field Technical Assistants Jackie M. Belmonte Jr., Raddy Baldera, Program Director Emmanuel Schütz, and Tamaraw Research Officer Alvaro Gonzalez-Monge. The efforts involving TCP, local communities, other governmental organizations and several NGOs, led to a consolidated final count of 523 individuals, the highest yet recorded since annual counts started in 2000.
A two days workshop was conducted in San Jose by the Protected Area Office of Mts Iglit-Baco National Park to discuss a possible zoning system which will be established within the Protected Area.
The workshop was facilitated by GWC expert and partner in PA Management Mr Mike Appleton, who is assisting the Protected Area Superintendant (Pasu) to design the future PA Management Plan for the Park. This event gathered several Mindoro stakeholders, partners from MBCFi, as well as IUCN-SSC AWCSG coordinator, Dr. James Burton.
The goal was to initiate a round discussion and draft the possible zones that will define and drive this protected area in the future. One challenge is also to give way for the tamaraw to expand its range towards suitable areas of the Park.
(zoning system workshop)
In collaboration with our DENR TCP partner and the local Alangan Mangyan communities, DAF conducted a 14 days exploration mission on the Upper Amnay Watershed Region, at the border of the two Mindoro provinces, in order to assess the size and the situation of an isolated Tamaraw population.
The existence of this remote population was corroborated during our previous rapid survey in June 2017. Results of this survey confirm what shall be considered as a new official sub-population and the second largest tamaraw population in Mindoro after Mts Iglit-Baco Natural Park (possibly more than 80 animals).
It also paves the way in building cooperation and structuring the involvement of the upland Alangan communities whose living space encompasses this tamaraw sub-population.
Despite the undeniable importance of the finding and the optimism it allows, discretion is requested at this stage to avoid unsuitable anticipated actions and mistakes with these IP communities.
(Fresh track of tamaraw)
(Mountain mossy forest landscape)
(Fresh dung of tamaraw)
(Exit through Occidental Mindoro)