Oryx

Research Article

Increase in the Tamaraw

D. W. Kuehn

Although the tamaraw occurred on Luzon during the Pleistocene, in historic times this buffalo has been restricted to the Philippine island of Mindoro. There it established a reputation for aggressiveness that made it widely known in the Philippines, but it was not described for science until 1888. It has been estimated that 10,000 tamaraw Bubalus mindorensis occupied Mindoro island in 1900 but by 1949 numbers had declined to 1000 animals, and in 1953 fewer than 250 remained. In 1969 Harrisson estimated that about 100 survived in three of their four known areas. Poaching was the main cause of the decline. Thanks to Harrisson's and General Lindbergh's efforts, 1969 also marked the start of the Philippine Government's tamaraw conservation effort, and wardens and guards were posted at the Mt Iglit Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary in Occidental Mindoro. Between May 1972 and March 1974 I conducted a tamaraw study on 2000 hectares of the refuge where the major tamaraw population was to be found.

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