Known to be the second smallest primate in the world, the Philippine tarsier has been attracting people across the globe to visit Bohol just to see it. This primate is endemic to the Philippines and known for its small body with big eyes.
Trivia about the Philippine Tarsier
Due to the Philippine tarsier’s rarity, conservationists master their traits to ensure that they are properly protected to avoid their loss.
Tarsiers don’t do well in captivity since the forest is their natural habitat. They are known to be territorial and need ample space. In captivity, they turn suicidal as they try to break free by bashing their heads in. Also, their mortality rate increases as they fight with other tarsiers when another primate comes into their territory. Both of these cases cause death among tarsiers.
Being nocturnal, these elusive creatures mostly have a hidden life. They have a great night vision which allows them to become active in the evening to hunt insects as their food. Being territorial and arboreal animals, they go back to their own spaces and cling vertically on the tree branches to sleep during the day.
Despite that tarsiers seems to be stable and peacefully sleeping when you see them, tarsiers are very sensitive, and shy. Too much sunlight, noise and physical contact from foreign things can over-stress them which may lead to suicide as well.
Touring around Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary Conservation
Visitors must understand the nature of tarsiers to avoid stressing them out and losing them to suicide. The higher the death rate, the rarer and the lesser chances their reproduction is. The conservationists at the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary ensure that the primates are in good habitat. Since tourists have been flocking to the sanctuary to have a glimpse of this little primate, they manage to keep them protected through a guided tour.
Before the tour would start, an orientation will be given to provide information about the tarsier and the guidelines in visiting their habitat. After, the orientation, you will be introduced to a tour guide that will escort you around. During my visit, the sanctuary was quiet and does not require you to queue since the place was not crowded.
Once the tour has set off, you will be escorted towards the tarsier trail where you’ll see the small primates quietly clinging on trees. The guided tour allows the sanctuary to keep the silence and observe the distance needed by the tarsier. Since you are visiting during the day, you’ll see that most of them are sleeping, while those that are awake have their fixed eyes wide open and moving freely in their natural environment. During the tour, the guides will point out to you where the tarsiers are resting so you can easily see them. Early in the morning, these guides wander around the grounds to find where the tarsiers have rested to easily escort you on their location and help you to spot them.
A gentle reminder and responsible tourism
When visiting the sanctuary visitors are expected to be considerate on the needs of this threatened species. Since tarsiers are resting and sensitive to noise, guests are advised to be silent. Since they are territorial, the required distance must be observed, touching them is prohibited and staying too long in one tarsier is dissuaded. Lastly, since tarsiers are sensitive to too much light, you must take pictures without flash.
Should you want to see this endemic primate, visit the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary which is also known as Tarsier Research and Development Center. It is recognized as the official sanctuary of the little primates. It is run by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation which is the main non-profit private organization in the Philippines that seeks to protect the Philippine tarsier. This center thoroughly follows the conservation requirements to protect the small primates and make sure that the place is well managed. It is located in Corella, Bohol.
Happy Travels! 💛
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