ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/16 September) – The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) is eyeing a research to determine the population of tarsiers locally known as “Chonggo Magu” in the forests of this southern port.
The plan was revealed by PENRO chief Louis Lozano after two more tarsiers were recovered last week in Barangay La Paz, 18 kilometers west of this city.
He noted that the tarsiers are bigger than those found in Bohol.
Lozano disclosed at least 10 tarsiers found in the different parts of this city had been freed at the Pasonanca Natural Park.
The park has an area of 17,414 hectares and serves as the buffer zone of this city’s watershed.
Lozano believes there is a high population of tarsiers in this city’s forest.
The two tarsiers in La Paz were found by a man cleaning a lot owned by teacher Pilar Rubio.
The tarsiers were taken to Rubio, who in turned reported the find to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office -West.
The CENRO officials freed the tarsiers last Wednesday at the Pasonanca Natural Park.
Tarsiers are often referred to as the world’s “smallest monkey” but they are more closely related to lemurs, the Tarsier Foundation’s website states. They play a vital role in the balance of the ecosystem as they help regulate insect population which is a major part of their diet.
Tarsiers are not recommended to be kept as pets or displayed in zoos as they rarely live long in captivity due to the trauma it suffers during its capture.
The Philippine Tarsier is found in the southern Philippine islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.
It is known to the natives as “mamag,” “mago,” “magau,” “maomag,” “malmag” and “magatilok-iok.” (MindaNews)