Action Against Vloggers for Mishandling Endangered Tarsiers

tarsier sitting on a tree branch in the forest

Although this did not happen in Bohol, it did involve our beloved Tarsier so I just wanted to share this to all. To spread awareness.

In a recent twist of events that’s caused quite the uproar online, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines is stepping up after a viral video showcased two tarsiers being mishandled by vloggers, raising major concerns over wildlife treatment. This incident, prominently featured by a vlogger known as ‘Farm Boy’ from Polomolok, South Cotabato, has led to serious legal repercussions.

Here’s the scoop: The video, which unfortunately made rounds on social media, displayed one individual tightly gripping a tarsier while sharing a laugh, and another audaciously plucking a tarsier from a tree, audibly coaxing it to smile. Needless to say, this has sparked widespread indignation, prompting DENR to take swift action. They’ve launched an investigation and found that although the tarsiers were released back into the wild by the vlogger, there’s still a discussion ongoing about further actions to address this wildlife incident.

In an impactful move, DENR-Soccsksargen didn’t just stop at an investigation—they’ve filed charges against Ryan Parreño and Sammy Estrebilla, the individuals involved, for violating the Wildlife Act of 2001, as amended by the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018. According to DENR, this case should serve as a stark warning to prevent others from committing similar offenses.

Adding to the voices condemning these acts, the Philippine Tarsier Foundation has been vocal, urging the public not to support accounts that propagate such harmful content. They stress that showcasing animal harassment should never be incentivized.

It’s crucial to note that the Philippine tarsier is not only an endemic and endangered species but also incredibly sensitive to stress. Captivity or stressful environments can tragically lead them to self-harm, a heartbreaking reality that underscores the importance of respecting their natural habitats and behaviors.

In response to the backlash, one of the accused, Parreño, has apologized but stood by their decision to move the tarsiers, claiming it was to protect them from potential harm during farm work. However, this explanation has done little to quell the public’s fury, with many calling for stringent punitive measures.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the delicate balance we must maintain when interacting with nature and its creatures. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and as stewards of this planet, it’s our responsibility to ensure the safety and survival of all species, especially those at the brink of extinction.

For more on this developing story, stay tuned, and remember, wildlife is to be observed, not disturbed.

Credit: Information adapted from articles by the Philippine Star, GMA Network, Rappler.

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