Calling on PETA! Marso 6, 2009Posted by Lenggai in Featuring: Ako!.
1. They are NOT the world’s smallest MONKEY. They are primates — a mammalian order from which monkeys and human beings belong to.
2. They are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and wake up at night.
3. They are NOT considered as endangered species.
Not in the Philippines, though.
Particularly in the province of Bohol, where these cutesies are considered as tourist attraction.
This information is quite surprising since most of us were led to believe that the number of Philippine Tarsiers are already dwindling.
The peg of my story last week focused on the conservation of Philippine tarsiers.
It was issue-based since the provincial board recently passed an ordinance banning the use of tarsiers for profit.
Various complaints have already been filed by concerned tourists and owners of resorts in Bohol about the abuse these animals experience.
They are allegedly used as tourist “magnets” by some business establishments, and since their “fans” come in droves in the morning — the time when they are supposed to be having their “beauty rest” — the tarsiers end up stressed and agitated.
This is bad news considering the fact that tarsiers are the most “emo” animals in the planet… they commit suicide when stressed.
It was only during this story that I realized: what I once considered as an endearing photo op with one of Bohol’s pride, turned out to be a traumatic experience… for the tarsier, at least.
Of course, a perfect trip to Bohol can never be complete if you don’t have your picture taken with them!
Thanks to the tarsier viewing facilities in Bohol, tourists can get their photos taken with one of the shyest animals in the world.
And speaking of these places, do you know that these tarsier viewing facilities can be real money-rakers?
Profits can reach up to 15k DAILY (at peak season) due to souvenir sales and tips from foreign visitors (oh yeah! We’re talking $$$, baby!).
Owners of tarsier viewing facilities also denied that their “pets” are stressed by all the attention during daytime.
The tarsiers in their care are said to be “trained”, thus, they are “used” to the noise and brouhaha.
They even boasted about a strict “NO TOUCH/NO CAMERA FLASH” policy and pointed on the various signs posted around the facility.
This is ironic, since most of the video evidence presented as proof during the deliberation of the ordinance showed the owners and their caretakers indiscriminately shoving and giving these little creatures to visitors for photo ops.
Also, during our visit, guests still continue to use flash on their cameras. Some even poke tarsiers who are about to doze off.
I am also baffled to discover how the provincial tourism and even the DENR were totally clueless about these animals.
When we covered the monitoring process of DENR-Bohol, I was quite disappointed to find out that their “task force” do not even know how to spot a stressed tarsier!
This is quite surprising, considering these people are the ones who are supposed to be “experts” when it comes to tarsiers.
And we are not talking of ordinary animals here, they are tarsiers — Bohol’s official “mascot”, and the DENR guys can’t tell us anything we cannot find in the internet.
The office does not even have a formal tally on the population of tarsiers in Bohol — the reason? According to the DENR chief in Bohol: tarsiers are so “common” in the area that they do not actually see the need for a formal study or head count.
And how are they supposed to know if the number of tarsiers are increasing or decreasing? If they are already endangered?
The government should wake up and start hiring competent and knowledgeable people in their ranks.
You know — stupidity can be very stressful, especially for taxpayers.