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August ’18 activity update (and working with the Fufuamas)

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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.

 

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Tamaraw annual count Image 2

Tamarraw Annual Count 2018

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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.

 

Tamaraw annual count Image 3

 

Tamaraw annual count Image 1

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Protected Area Zoning System Workshop (May 2018)

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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.

 

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(zoning system workshop)

1-Team proceeding in the mountain by oriental Mindoro

New official tamaraw population, in the heart of Mindoro (February 2018)

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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.

 

 

3 - fresh track of tamaraw

(Fresh track of tamaraw)

2 - mountain mossy forest landscape

(Mountain mossy forest landscape)

4 - fresh dung of tamaraw

(Fresh dung of tamaraw)

5 - exit through Occidental Mindoro

(Exit through Occidental Mindoro)

A - With Tamaraw rangers in the field

Joining field patrols to assess capacities and needs of Tamaraw rangers (February 24 – March 6)

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DAF Program Manager assisted GWC expert in Wildlife Crime Prevention, Mr. James Slade, to survey Tamaraw landscape within MIBNP and Aruyan-Malati area, together with the 4 TCP rangers’ teams. The goal was to assess the patrolling/monitoring activities of the rangers thus to identify gaps, needs and constraints, as well as to initiate new methods (cyber tracker). Report from James Slade will be very valuable to design and develop capacity reinforcement approach for the Tamaraw rangers.

B - using cyber tracker during patrols

Strengthening the agenda of local stakeholders through partnership with international scientific community (February 18 – 24)

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Together with its international partners, DAF is supporting the organization of a new Tamaraw Population Habitat Viability Assessment workshop (PHVA) to be conducted in last quarter 2018 in Mindoro. On that purpose a second meeting was held at the National DENR BMB office in Quezon City in presence of Dr. James Burton of the IUCN/SSC AWCSG and CCTU Conservation Program officer, Mr. Jeff Holland.

In parallel, substantial work and progress were done towards the design of the Protected Area General Management Plan for Mts Iglit-Baco National Park, thanks to the second visit in the Philippines of GWC expert in Protected Area Management, Mr Mike Appleton. Protected Area Superintendent for MIBNP must submit the Plan by December 2018. DAF and its partners will be active contributors to help her achieve this mission.

This is two challenging and crucial agendas which will structure program’s activities and schedule in the coming months.

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