The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, together with Far Eastern University and partner institutions, gathered together hundreds of individuals in a 3-kilometer charity race organized to augment funds to conserve the Tamaraws and empower the rangers directly protecting the species, October 19.
Themed “Ating Ikarangal, Takbo Para sa Tamaraw,” the fun run was a part of the month-long celebration held in commemoration of Presidential Proclamation No. 273 series of 2002 declaring the month of October of every year as “Special Month for the Conservation and Protection of the Tamaraw in Mindoro.”
As early as 5 a.m., volunteer runners already assembled to complete a 3-kilometer route that required four laps from Lapu-Lapu Shrine at T.M. Kalaw Street, passing through Luneta along Taft Avenue, Manila and back to the starting area. They had a few minutes of Zumba dance to warm up before the gun start.
“We would like to thank all of you who had to wake up very early to join this event, and run for the benefit of our Tamaraws and park rangers,” said DENR MIMAROPA regional executive director Henry Adornado said during the short program held after the run.
“We used to hold activities for Tamaraw Month in Mindoro, and now perhaps you are wondering why we brought this event in Manila. It is because we would like to raise the level of awareness on this unique species, and engage more groups and individuals in the shared effort to protect and conserve one of our country’s treasured natural resources,” he added.
The tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) is a critically endangered species found only in Mindoro. While it resembles the carabao, tamaraw is shorter and its horns grow in ‘V’ form.
It is described as resilient and enduring—two words that aptly speak of the distinct traits of Filipinos. Its characteristics best represent the country, hence, a current proposal to declare it as the National Land Mammal of the Philippines through an act of Congress.
The Mt. Iglit-Baco Natural Park houses the Tamaraw’s core habitat that measures 1,600 hectares, with only 23 rangers patrolling the area and protecting the species against illegal hunters and poachers.
Based on the last population count held in April, the number of Tamaraws went down to 480 from 523 last year.
“That is why we will always be thankful to you runners, and of course to our partner agencies and institutions, who, in countless ways, extend their support to our cause. With your cooperation, we look forward to increasing the number of Tamaraws in Mindoro,” Adornado said.
Besides FEU, who bears the Tamaraw icon and is a long-time partner of DENR in conservation projects, the fun run was made possible and successful through the help and support of the FEU-Nicanor Reyes Memorial Foundation, National Parks Development Committee, City Government of Manila, Maynilad Water Services, City State Hotel, Joint Process Planning and Business System, and Metro Manila Development Authority.
The organizers would also like to extend its gratitude to participating agencies, such as the Department of Tourism, Land Management Bureau, Environmental Management Bureau and Mines and Geosciences Bureau in the MIMAROPA Region, and the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau.
The projected amount of P100, 000 from the registration fees collected would go directly to DENR’s Tamaraw Conservation Program (TCP) and FEU’s Save the Tamaraw Project.