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Animal Info - Tamaraw

(Other Names: 明多罗水牛, 菲律賓水牛, タマラオ, B˙falo de Mindoro, Dwarf Water Buffalo, MindorobŘffel, Tamarao, Tamarau, Tamarou)

Bubalus mindorensis (Anoa m.)

Status: Critically Endangered


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Gestation Period, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization)
5. References


Profile

Pictures: Tamaraw #1 (35 Kb GIF) (Phil. Sust. Dev. Net. Inc.); Tamaraw #2 (22 Kb JPEG) (Field Museum)

The tamaraw is a small wild buffalo weighing about 300 kg (660 lb). It lives in dense forest with open glades for grazing, such as are created by fires or landslides. At one time it was found from sea level to 2000 m (6600'). It also prefers to be close to water for wallowing. The tamaraw feeds on grasses, bamboo shoots and aquatic vegetation. Its small size and great strength enables it to push through dense jungle and climb steep mountains. Tamaraw apparently associate in pairs, rather than herds, except when the cows are about to give birth.

The tamaraw was first documented by Western science in 1888. It has never been recorded from any area other than the island of Mindoro (Philippines). Prior to about 1900, most people had avoided settling on Mindoro, since it harbored a particularly virulent strain of malaria. Thus human impact on the tamaraw had been slight. At one time the tamaraw lived throughout most of the island. With the advent of anti-malarial medicines near the turn of the century, Mindoro became more accessible to human settlement. Since that time, the tamaraw's population has been reduced from abundance to a critically low level. By 1966 its range had been reduced almost entirely to 3 principal areas: Mt. Iglit, Mt. Calavite, and the vicinity of the Sablayon Penal Settlement.  By 2000, reports suggested that tamaraw were restricted to just 2 areas: the Iglit Ranges, in Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park, and Aruyan, with very few data about numbers in either site.

The tamaraw has declined mainly because of hunting, especially after the introduction of modern firearms after WWII and the Vietnam war; and habitat loss, due to settlement, logging and ranching, after malaria was brought under control around 1900. Disease (rinderpest) caught from domestic cattle introduced to the island in the 1930's has also had a serious impact.


Tidbits

*** The tamaraw is one of the world's rarest mammals.

*** Natives of Mindoro feared the tamaraw because of its aggressiveness.

*** Hunters with automatic weapons flew to Mindoro from Manila in helicopters during the 1960's and 1970's to pursue the tamaraw.


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

Countries Where the Tamaraw Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in the Philippines (Mindoro). (IUCN 2004)

Population Estimates:

[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]

History of Distribution:

The tamaraw was first documented by Western science in 1888. It has never been recorded from any area other than the island of Mindoro (Philippines). Prior to about 1900, most people had avoided settling on Mindoro, since it harbored a particularly virulent strain of malaria. Thus human impact on the tamaraw had been slight. At one time the tamaraw lived throughout most of the island, from forest at sea level up to 2000 m (6600'). With the advent of anti-malarial medicines near the turn of the century, Mindoro became more accessible to human settlement. Since that time, the tamaraw's population has been reduced from abundance to a critically low level. By 1966 its range had been reduced almost entirely to 3 principal areas: Mt. Iglit, Mt. Calavite, and the vicinity of the Sablayon Penal Settlement.  By 2000, reports suggested that tamaraw were restricted to just 2 areas: the Iglit Ranges, in Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park, and Aruyan, with very few data about numbers in either site (IUCN 2004)

Distribution Map #1 (8 Kb GIF) (Huffman 2004)
Distribution Map #2 (28 Kb JPEG) (Spec. Cons. Found.)

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

The tamaraw has declined mainly because of hunting, especially after the introduction of modern firearms after WWII and the Vietnam war; and habitat loss due to settlement, logging and ranching. Once malaria was brought under control around 1900, loggers moved in and cut the prime trees from lowland rain forest, plantation owners brought in laborers and their families to clear the lowlands for sugar cane and other crops, and subsistence farmers from Luzon and other densely populated places moved to Mindoro in search of farmland. (Heaney and Regalado 1998) Disease (rinderpest) caught from domestic cattle introduced to the island in the 1930's has also had a serious impact.


Data on Biology and Ecology

Weight:

The tamaraw weighs up to 300 kg (660 lb).

Habitat:

The tamaraw lives in dense forest with open glades for grazing, such as are created by fires or landslides. At one time it was found from sea level to 2000 m (6600'). It also prefers to be close to water for wallowing.

The tamaraw is one of the species that live in both the Philippines Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl. 2005) and the Philippines Moist Forests Global 200 Ecoregion. (Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999)

Gestation Period:

276 - 315 days.

Diet:

The tamaraw feeds on grasses, bamboo shoots and aquatic vegetation.

Behavior:

The tamaraw's small size and great strength enables it to push through dense jungle and climb steep mountains.

Social Organization:

The tamaraw apparently associates in pairs, rather than herds, except when the cows are about to give birth.


References

Burton & Pearson 1987, Cons. Intl. 2005, Curry-Lindahl 1972, de Leon 1995, Field Museum, Fitter 1974, Huffman 2004, IUCN 1969, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Kuehn 1977, Macdonald 1984, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999, Oryx 1973, Phil. Sust. Dev. Net. Inc., Spec. Cons. Found.


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Last modified: March 5, 2005;

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