THE diminutive yet iconic Philippine Tarsier is now among the world's most endangered primate according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The agency's latest edition of ‘Primates in Peril: The world’s 25 most endangered primates’ released in late November 2015 added the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) as a species in the verge of extinction because they are losing their habitat due to tropical forests destruction and because they are being hunted to be traded illegally as pets.
Compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC), Bristol Zoological Society, the International Primatological Society (IPS), and Conservation International (CI), the Top 25 list seeks to highlight those primates most at risk, to attract the attention of the public, to stimulate national governments to do more, and especially to find the resources to implement desperately needed conservation measures,” says Dr Russell Mittermeier, Chair of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and Executive Vice Chair of Conservation International. “In particular, we want to encourage governments to commit to desperately needed biodiversity conservation measures.
In the case of the Philippine Tarsier which can be found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Dinagat and Basilan and other parts of Mindanao, the primatologists noted that “there is a burgeoning illegal trade in tarsiers as pets, which unfortunately, is probably promoted to some degree by the tarsiers' status as tourism mascots.”
Owing to weak oversight particularly on the part of the tourism department, experts said the Philippine government must correct its current practices which are probably exacerbating the risk of the Philippine Tarsiers' extinction.