Guest Author - Rachel Meneses-Ponce
The Tamaraw or Timaraw is similar to water buffalo. Tamaraw is endemic in the island Province of Mindoro hence its scientific name, bubalus Mindorensis.
The Tamaraw’s built is stocky and smaller in size than that of a water buffalo. It is because of this that the Tamaraw is referred to as a midget (dwarf) buffalo. Its body is heavy-set, thick and sturdy. While the bigger water buffalo’s horn is formed like a “c” and is rounded in shape, the Tamaraw’s horn is triangular at the base, thick and tapers into a pointed end towards its back. Its adult color is generally greyish-black while the young is reddish-brown in color which gradually turns into greyish-black as it matures. Some have a distinct marking of white in the face, or throat.
Tamaraw is not a domesticated animal. It is a wild beast that prefers to live in densely forested areas. It is not a sociable animal as well as it prefers to be solitary except during mating seasons. Although behavioural studies on the Tamaraw report that sometimes they can be seen in groups of four. Tamaraw feeds mostly on grass and likes to wallow in muds and streams especially during hot and humid days.
The Tamaraw is known to reproduce every two years, with only one litter per birth. The mother cares for its young for about 2-4 years.
Signs to watch out for danger: when a Tamaraw lowers its head, shaking its horns. It’s a clear sign that it is ready to charge! So be aware of this, be for-warned so as not to be sorry. Remember, it is wild and suspiciousness and fierceness are just but two of its characteristics. Refrain from agitating the animal. Go near at your own risk.
Tamaraw is a rare, indigenous mammal species found only in the Philippines. Because of illegal hunting, poaching, disease and its natural habitat being overtaken by humans, its population has dwindled. At about 300 heads remaining, the Tamaraw is greatly nearing extinction. In fact, it has been listed in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List in 2007-2008 as critically endangered.
To save the Tamaraw, the Philippine Government has banned its hunting and designated reservation areas where they are not to be disturbed. The ranges of the reservation areas that serve as the Tamaraw’s habitat are in Mount Iglit-Baco National Park, Mount Calavite Tamaraw Preserve and in Mount Aruyan/Sablayan. These are all in Mindoro Provinces (Mindoro Oriental and Mindoro Occidental). With these measures, the Tamaraw hopefully shall be conserved, along with its natural habitat.