Bubalus mindorensis Heude, 1888
Vertebrate - Mammal
Tamaraw, Dwarf Water Buffalo;
Critically endangered (IUCN)
The tamaraw resembles the carabao, only it is smaller and its horns are shorter which grows upward in a “V” form. Its dense hair covering is dark brown to grayish black.
The tamaraw, also called the dwarf water buffalo, is the largest native land mammal in the Philippines and it can only be found in Mindoro.
A typical habitat of tamaraw is on forest edges where there is dense vegetation for safe cover and resting, open pasture and nearby water to drink and wallow in. It feeds on various types of grasses, especially the new shoots.
The tamaraw is solitary in nature except during breeding when a bull and a cow tamaraw are usually seen together. A tamaraw cow usually bears only one calf once every two years and the young is separated from the mother between the age of 2 to 4 years.
Ferocious and aggressive, this animal has a very keen sense of smell and can detect its attacker even a mile away.
During the late 1800’s, the tamaraw population is moderately common throughout most of Mindoro Island from the lowland forest to the mountain tops. Logging, poaching, over hunting, intensive farming and the establishment of ranch in the forests of Mindoro had all contributed to the depletion of the tamaraw population.
Today, the tamaraw is one of the world’s most threatened land mammals. From 10,000 heads during the 1900’s , the tamaraw population is now estimated to be about 200 to 300 heads. To save the tamaraw from extinction, a collaborative effort by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), University of the Philippines at Los Baños, Laguna, UPLB Foundation, Inc. and the Occidental Mindoro Local Government Units had implemented the Tamaraw Conservation Program. Its primary objectives 1) to prevent the extinction of tamaraw and increase its population to a level that would sustain its preservation, and 2) to protect, rehabilitate and preserve the natural habitat of tamaraw in Mindoro.