TAMWorld Art and Photo Exhibits at Terminals 2 and 3 of the Batangas Port on October 28-30, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Regional Public Affairs Office, DENR 4B MIMAROPA)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Far Eastern University shine a spotlight on the endemic and critically endangered Tamaraws as they launched TAMWorld Art and Photo Exhibits at Terminals 2 and 3 of the Batangas Port on Monday.

Anchored on the theme of this year’s celebration, “Tamaraw at Ako, Dangal ng Pilipino,” TAMWorld features Tamaraws and their habitat through paintings done by TAMBayani volunteers composed of artists from various universities and the Art Association of Novaliches led by FEU Fine Arts alumni; and photographs from Gab Mejia of World Wide Fund for Nature – Philippines National Youth Council and Zymon Bumatay of FEU.

The exhibit was staged to help spread awareness on the conservation of the Tamaraws, which can only be found in the island provinces of Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro.

Ribbon cutting at opening of exhibits (Photo courtesy of Regional Public Affairs Office, DENR 4B MIMAROPA)

“This is one of the reasons why we opted to hold the exhibit here at the port. Thousands of passengers are heading to these provinces this coming All Saints’ Day. We take such an opportunity to let them know more about this species, and discover the distinct traits that we, Filipinos share with the Tamaraws,” DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado said.

The Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) is a critically endangered species that resembles the carabao. It is shorter though and its horns grow in ‘V’ form. It is described as resilient and enduring, characteristics innate to Filipinos and distinct traits that best represent the country. Hence, a current proposal to declare it as the National Land Mammal of the Philippines through an act of Congress.

Based on the last population count held in April this year, the number of Tamaraws went down to 480 from 523 in 2018. The Tamaraw’s core habitat within Mts. Iglit-Baco Natural Park (MIBNP) in Mindoro measures 1,600 hectares, with only 23 rangers patrolling the area and protecting the species against illegal hunters and poachers.

For this reason, the exhibit was also organized to raise funds through the sale of the art pieces. Proceeds of the exhibit shall go directly to the FEU’s Save the Tamaraws Project which supports the park rangers and the indigenous people’s group Tau-Buid, who also take care of the species and share with them their habitat in MIBNP.

“With this joint undertaking, we are looking forward to empowering the people directly protecting the Tamaraws,” Director Adornado noted.

The FEU has been a partner of the DENR in various efforts to promote the conservation of Tamaraws. Besides its Save the Tamaraw Project, FEU also launched TAMWorld as a roving exhibit to intensify awareness campaign on the endemic species, in the form of art.

“As we hold the exhibit in other areas next year, we hope to step-up awareness and conservation efforts, and eventually increase the number of our treasured Tamaraws,” said Dr. Marilou Cao, Director of Volunteerism Services, Office of the President, FEU.

TAMWorld went from October 28-30 with paintings. Paintings of the Tamaraw are on display at Terminal 3, while photos of the species and its core habitat at MIBNP can be viewed at Terminal 3.

Anyone interested to buy the art pieces may call Dr. Cao on mobile number 0998 – 9904173.

The three-day exhibition is part of the Tamaraw Month celebration held by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 273 Series of 2002, Declaring the Month of October of Every Year as a “Special Month for the Conservation and Protection of the Tamaraw in Mindoro.”

DENR and FEU would like to extend to the following agencies and institutions their sincerest thanks for their support in making TAMWorld Art and Photo Exhibits possible and successful: Philippine Ports Authority, Asian Terminal, Inc., World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines, and DENR CALABARZON.

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