Photo of “Kalibasib” in his natural gracing area inside the Tamaraw Gene Pool Farm in Brgy Manoot in the town of Rizal, Occidental Mindoro.
By Glen Ramos
The Oriental Mindoro Public Information and Services Division today announced the death Saturday (10 October 2020) of “Kalibasib,” only Tamaraw bred in captivity.
Kalibasib is short for “Kalikasan Bagong Sibol.” The animal was on June 24, 1999 and raised at the Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation, Research and Educational Center (MBCREC), a 280-hectare facility located at Barangay Manoot in the Municipality of Rizal, Occidental Mindoro.
The animal was the only one spawned and has survived for 21 long years at the breeding center.
The MBCREC, formerly known as the Tamaraw Gene Pool Farm, under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and is responsible for the captive breeding program to conserve the tamaraw species in the island also known as the MIMAROPA Tamaraw Conservation Program (TCP), said that Kalibasib may have died of old age although it was gathered Kalibasib was suffering from diarrhea before the animal’s death.
The average lifespan for a Tamaraw is 20 years, some may live to about 25. An adult female gives birth to one offspring after a 300-day gestation period and a birth interval Manroot of two years. A calf remains with its mother for 2–4 years before going on its own.
The biggest tamaraw population can be found at Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park, which was proclaimed by virtue of R.A. No. 6148 dated Nov. 11, 1970. The park is home to Mindoro dwarf buffalos, considered to be extremely endangered large mammals.
The DENR also disclosed tamaraw habitats are found in Mounts Aruyan, Calavite, Eagles Pass, Halcon, and other areas in both Occidental and Oriental Mindoro.
The biggest threat to tamaraws are poaching and hunting by the indigenous Mangyan and lowlanders which was recently reported by Forest Rangers stationed in the area of Mts. Iglit-Baco wherein they found a sack of tamaraw meat being sun-dried last August 2020.
They also disclosed that there were at least two (2) tamaraws slaughtered by hunters within a period of 4 months alone.
The TCP has accounted a total of 600 tamaraws in 2019, mostly within the 106,655-hectare of Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park in Occidental Mindoro.
The Tamaraw (scientific name Bubalus Mindorensis) is a small hoofed mammal that resembles a carabao but smaller in stature and has shorter horns that grow upward in a V-shape. It also has darker and thicker hair. The Mindoro dwarf buffalo is found only in the Philippines on the island of Mindoro.
The month of October is a “Special Month for the Conservation and Protection of the Tamaraw in Mindoro by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 273 series of 2002. This year’s theme is “Strengthening Tamaraw and Biodiversity Conservation Amidst the Pandemic”.