Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary

The   Philippine   Tarsier  Foundation,   Incorporated   (PTFI)   is   a non-profit,   non-stock   corporation   based   in   Tagbilaran   City,  BoholPhilippines,   established  in  1996  to  conserve, promote  research  and establish a  sanctuary for the Philippine tarsier. To ensure the continued existence of the Philippine tarsier, the Foundation is attempting to bring tourism to the province of Bohol in a way that is ecologically friendly to the Philippine tarsier. The Philippine Tariser or Tarsius carlito syrichta, named after Carlito Pizarra  or “Tarsier Man”, is the smallest primates discovered.  They belong to the 45 million year-old family tarsiidae.

Canapnapan, Corella, Bohol

30 minutes travel

HISTORY

Deep in the secondary forests of Canapnapan, Corella town, the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary is located. It is the home of one of the world’s smallest primate, the Philippine Tarsier (Figure B25). The 8.4 hectare (20.7 acre) sanctuary is nestled within the protected forests of Corella. The sanctuary was established as part of a MOA between the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. (PFTI) and the DENR that was signed in 1997. For the whole region of the sanctuary, about a thousand tarsiers roam freely.

The institution is dedicated to the preservation and scientific research on the endemic tarsier of Bohol. A Tourism Development Plan for the Tarsier Sanctuary has been formulated by the provincial government. One of its main thrusts is to provide and support conservation and preservation of habitat, promotion eco-tourism to produce livelihood opportunities to locals as well as environmental awareness and provide an avenue for research program for local and international primatologists. The tarsiers are considered endangered creatures and stricter policies has been implemented to protect them.

The Philippine Tarsier or Tarsius carlito syrichta, named after Carlito Pizarra or “Tarsier Man” who worked at Corella Sanctuary, is one of the smallest primates discovered, it is related to monkeys, lemurs, gorillas and humans. They belong to the 45 million year-old family Tarsiidae and they occupy a small branch in the evolution of the primates. A young or newly born tarsier is 8-16 cm, while a fully grown tarsier measures about the size of the human fist. Gestation lasts for 6 months, and like any other mammals, the tarsiers are

being born live, with a full coat of fur along its open eyes. The tarsier’s eyes that are too big in relation to its body size is the most notable feature within their class. Their huge eyes that can be up to 16mm in diameter provide these shy nocturnal animals with excellent night vision. All species are also similar in having a long tail, which is twice its body size, covered with fur and attached to its lower body, and is used to provide balance. Its neck allows its head to rotate for 180 degrees, so the tarsiers are able to look around their surroundings without moving their body. The long fingers and toes of the tarsier have pads to help them grip on tree branches. Their long hind legs and elongated ankle bone called “tarsus” (where its name got derived) allow them to jump at least 3 meters from tree to tree.

For the past 45 million years, tarsiers have inhabited rainforests around the world, but today they are found in some islands in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia, Indonesia and in the Philippines. Good population of Philippine Tarsiers are found primarily on the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao, but some are also found living in isolated islands of Siargao and Basilan. These animals prefer living in tropical rainforests with dense vegetation. However, they are already adapted to secondary forests that serve as their sanctuary. The Tarsiers are the only completely carnivorous primates in the world. Bulk of their diet consists of small insects particularly crickets, grasshoppers and spiders, but some are observed to hunt for small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards and small birds.

Various environmental factors have greatly affected the number of tarsiers in existence. Within the last decades, their population in the Philippines has decreased. Some factors that caused this are illegal logging and land use change or the conversion of forested areas to agricultural and residential areas. Hence, a permanent logging ban has been implemented within the sanctuary.

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