Government requires tourists to plant a tree before entering a tarsier sanctuary

  • The DENR issued a policy requiring tourists to plant a tree first before visiting a tarsier sanctuary in South Cotabato
  • The seedlings will be provided by the government agency through the Tupi MENRO
  • The program is called “voluntourism”, combination of words volunteerism and tourism

Do you want to visit a tarsier? You need a gate pass – aka “plant a tree” – first.

Image by Tarsier via Facebook

In an effort to ensure tarsiers will survive for the succeeding generations, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a policy requiring tourists who want to see a tarsier at a sanctuary on the slopes of Mt. Matumun to plant a tree first. The policy was issued through the DENR’s Protected Area Management Office of Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape (MMPL).

According to Inquirer, South Cotabato’s Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office admin chief Mila Calungsod Locsin said individuals who want to see the primates in Barangay Linan, Tupi has to coordinate with the MMPL staff to secure visiting schedules.

This is because tarsiers are nocturnal animals – meaning, they sleep during the day and active during the night – and visitors are advised to avoid disturbing the animals while visiting the sanctuary.

Locsin added that the seedlings will be provided by the government agency through the Tupi Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO).

The admin chief noted that the term used by the government for the program is “voluntourism”, combination of words volunteerism and tourism, as it seeks to encourage volunteerism by allowing visitors to plant trees to help preserve the sanctuary.

“This gives our visitors the opportunity to see the tarsiers in their natural habitat and at the same time take part in protecting them,” Tupi MENRO Rolando Visaya was quoted by MindaNews saying.

Image by Tarsier via Facebook

Former President Fidel Ramos declared the area as a tarsier sanctuary in 1997 through Proclamation No. 1030. Mt. Matutum is a known sanctuary of tarsiers, which are called “mal” by Blaan and T’boli tribal residents in the area.

The tarsier is one among the animal species that Filipinos should be proud of. It is considered as the smallest monkey in the world. Just this year, DF News shared the viral video of a tarsier who snubbed a visitor. Read it here.

Image by Tarsier via Facebook