EDITORIAL — Wildlife and human activity

The Freeman
EDITORIAL � Wildlife and human activity

Two vloggers recently caught flak after they posted a video of themselves handling a couple of tarsiers in Barangay Maligo, South Cotabato.

In the video, the two can be seen holding the tiny primates and even bringing them up close to the camera asking them to smile.

However, Ryan Parreño, also known as “Farm Boy” from Polomolok, South Cotabato, justified his and his cousin’s actions.

He said that while shooting the video they were actually relocating the two tarsiers somewhere “safe.” He added that before they came upon the two tarsiers they were allegedly clearing grass in the area and almost hit one of them with a bolo.

“Hapit namo sila mahagbasan, hapit sila maigo sa sundang. Ana ko nga ‘mig, kuhaon na lang nato na, i-transfer nato sa ubang area.’ Mao to gikuha namo siya, wala kaabot og half hour, na-transfer na siya,” Parreño was quoted as saying in a GMA report.

We see two issues here. First is the handling of the primates. While in Bohol tarsiers aren’t allowed to be handled, there was no mention of the law in South Cotabato, although it should be mentioned that tarsiers are listed as near-threatened species.

They should not have been disturbed, handled, or moved. While Parreño might have expertise in farming, we don’t think he has adequate training when it comes to determining what habitat is ideal for tarsiers.

If others follow their example and start “relocating” animals that they think need to be moved there is no telling what some well-intentioned but misinformed people will do, or how this will impact the animal or the environment.

The second issue is the sad fact that more and more activities of man are bringing them to the habitat of wildlife.

We have seen this all before; woodlands cut down to make way for human settlements, mangroves areas and marshland converted into reclaimed land, among others. In such expansions it is actually the wildlife that is at the losing end.

While we are quick to build for man, we are slow when it comes to repairing nature and this doesn’t bode well for animals.

More must be done to make sure that wildlife is protected from human activity.

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