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.
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.
DAF with the presence of E. Schütz participated to the large consultation meeting held at station 1 in Mts Iglit-Baco National Park last December 8. The meeting was at the initiative of the Tau-Buid tribal leader, inviting all residing communities, DENR agencies, NCIP and NGOs to discuss the ongoing developments within the PA. He emphasized about the tradition and culture of the tribe, the new challenges facing communities and need for people to be cautious of the quick changes in lifestyle but also for the DENR to adjust its approach and measures.
DAF presented its vision and main goals of its program, highlighting its support toward the development of a consistent Protected Area General Management Plan.
It was also the opportunity to discuss about the traditional hunting practices and use of traps around the 2016 hunting agreement. Indeed, several tamaraws were recently found dead due to snare traps using nylon, highlighting changes in traditional practices and use of non natural materials.
A group of three tamaraws was captured using camera trapping method in the Aruyan-Malati area. The method was recently initiated and deployed in this critical location in order to gather more information about this struggling subpopulation. No more than 15 animals might indeed survive there. This is an encouraging result. This method will be also used to complement monitoring patrols of the rangers.