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Conservationists pledge to double number of tiny buffalo

July 25, 2012
"Ultimately, our engagement will revitalize key mountain habitats in Occidental Mindoro, with the tamaraw as its conservation icon,"
- WWF-Philippines Vice-Chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan

The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines) has joined top academic institution Far Eastern University (FEU), alongside well-established environmental groups in Mindoro, with the goal of doubling the wild tamaraw population from 300 to 600 by 2020.

Considered a national symbol in the Philippines, the tamaraw is the largest native terrestrial mammal to Mindoro. That said, it is relatively small when compared to other buffalo species and is considered a dwarf buffalo, standing only a meter tall (3.2 feet) and weighing between 200-300 kilograms (440-660 pounds) when fully grown. The tamaraw is dark brown with light markings on the belly. These markings are also found over its eyes, creating the effect of eyebrows. They have short, thick horns, which form a distinctive V-shape. Tamaraw are nocturnal in nature, though it is speculated that this is likely the result of adaptation to human disturbance. Decades of trophy hunting, land clearing for agriculture and an outbreak of the viral disease Rinderpest in the 1930s have had a devastating impact on the tamaraw population.

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