Wednesday, February 13, 2008

TAMARAW: Half the Size, Twice as Fierce, Totally Rare

At first, it looks like a juvenile water buffalo. But if you look closely, not quite really. Before you go near it to do a little petting… you might wanna think twice -- This is the Tamaraw*! Waaaah! The rare dwarf buffalo known for its legendary fierceness.

One of Southeast Asia’s gems in the animal world can only be found in Mindoro Island in the Philippines. No other island, country or continent in the world has it. You are looking at one of the world’s rarest mammals!

The Tamaraw /tah-‘mah-‘rao/ was first described to science in 1888 by a French zoologist. It was classified as sub-specie of the Water Buffalo in 1958 and declared a new specie in 1969.

How is it different from a common carabao? Tamaraws are short and stocky, hairier, with gray-white markings on the face, hooves and inner front legs. Their horns are shorter, straight and resembles a “V”. They are solitary, shy and not very friendly. Oops! Change that to: “not friendly” AT ALL!

How rare is rare? Just 50 to 100 are estimated left in the wild. This is in stark contrast to 10,000 in the 1900s. A critically endangered species with a life span of only 20 years! Oh people, have mercy!

Why are they diminishing fast? I was told that Tamaraws were harvested for their meat! What? Who eats buffaloes? Honestly. -- And of course, loss of habitat. *sigh*

There is a law in the Philippines prohibiting the killing and even wounding a Tamaraw. It was passed in 1936. But still, the number of Tamaraw dwindled to what it is now.

Making laws are not enough! The Tamaraw is a national treasure and a symbol of the Philippines. When are going to start to care? When they are all gone? Can you take an extinct national symbol?

Save our forests. Save the Tamaraw.


*Bulbalus mindorensis


Morgan H. said...

where are the pictures you took? why you didnt post it here?

artur said...

wow! tamaraw!!!:) - forgotten specie

MischMensch said...

@Morgan Haha sweetie maybe he saved those for you :)

curbside_puppet said...

i really thought they were being preserved!

Anonymous said...

i only see them in documentary. i think i have a stamp of this beauty somewhere in my collection. Yup, their habitat is really dwindling in size....

Anonymous said...

btw, i dont know if they still make it, but toyota use to make a phil transport vehicle called toyota TAMARAW named after this phil endangered treasure.

eyron said...

feu, a university in manila use the tamaraw as its symbol to create awareness bout this creature

flitz said...

Tamaraw is also a symbol of boyscout, isn't it? i used to be a boyscout when i was in elementary back then.

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