The world's Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) population dropped by 97% within the last century. With only a few hundred remaining, swift action is needed to save these wild dwarf buffalo from extinction.
In 2012, WWF-Philippines partnered with the Far Eastern University and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for a programme called Tams-2, which seeks to double fragmented and little studied Tamaraw populations from 300 to 600 by 2020. From an initial count of 153 in 2001, the latest visual count of this endemic species was 345 in 2013.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified this Philippine dwarf buffalo as critically endangered – the highest risk rating for any plant or animal species.
The Tamaraw is endemic to the Philippines, foraging up and down Mts. Iglit, Baco, Aruyan, Halcon and Calavite in Mindoro. The Tamaraw can be differentiated from the Carabao (Bubalus bubalis carabanensis) through its distinctive V-shaped horns, a shorter tail, and a shaggy coat of chocolate to ebony fur. Adults stand four feet tall and weigh an average of 300 kilograms.
WWF-Philippines and FEU's Western Mindoro Integrated Conservation programme ties in Tamaraw research and improved park management initiatives with existing efforts to conserve Apo Reef and the rich marine habitats off the coast of Sablayan. Behavioural studies are underway with the deployment of camera traps in the Iglit-Baco mountain range, a precursor to future deployments in other sites to monitor and validate the existence of remnant Tamaraw populations beyond the Iglit-Baco mountain range.