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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tamaraw Conservation Efforts Highlighted in the 1st World Wildlife Day Celebration


World Wildlife Day is an opportunity for the international community to celebrate the globe's wild plant and animal life while redoubling efforts to protect them. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) welcomes recent achievements to safeguard wildlife, laments the losses and looks toward a future in which people can truly live in harmony with nature.

The ‘Tams-2’ Project aims to double wild Tamaraw numbers from 300 to 600 by 2020. Owing to aggressive public and private sector efforts, Tamaraw numbers have jumped from 153 in 2002 to 345 by April 2013. Shown is a Tamaraw bull in Occidental Mindoro, the Philippines. (Gregg Yan / WWF) 

The United Nations General Assembly set aside March 3 to raise awareness of the intrinsic value of wildlife and its contributions to sustainable development and human well-being. The day, which marks the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, is also being used to underscore the need to fight wildlife crime.

“The Earth’s wild creatures – from the tiger to the monarch butterfly – bring wonder and beauty into our lives. They are also a vital part of the forests, meadows, rivers and oceans on whose services our economy and society depend. Wildlife needs our appreciation and protection," said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International.

The last year has recorded numerous achievements in the fight against wildlife crime. Several countries disposed of ivory stocks, the United Nations imposed targeted sanctions, and the recent London Conference resulted in strengthened commitments aimed at poaching and illegal trade.

While progress has been achieved, illegal wildlife trade continues to pose a grave threat to our natural world. In South Africa alone, over 1,000 rhinos were poached in 2013. More than a statistic, it’s a sombre reminder that wildlife crime is real, that it interrupts economic opportunities, and that it poses a threat to security and stability.

Despite these setbacks, WWF is pleased to announce that the country’s very own Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) – once hunted by poachers and assailed by disease outbreaks such as rinderpest – is on the road to recovery. One of the Earth’s most endangered species – the Tamaraw is a dwarf buffalo found only on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines.

Owing to aggressive efforts by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Tamaraw Conservation Programme, Far Eastern University, Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute, local government of Occidental Mindoro, Tawbuid Mangyan and WWF, wild Tamaraw numbers jumped from 327 in April 2012 to 345 in April 2013. Led by the above groups, the ‘Tams-2’ project synthesizes camera trapping, DNA analysis and other science-based research initiatives with improved park management practices.

By working with civil society, government and business, WWF helps safeguard wildlife on World Wildlife Day and every day. For more on the innovative ways WWF is protecting wildlife and supporting communities visit: https://earthhourblue.crowdonomic.com/

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