By Ben Serrano
Manobo tribesmen have called on the government and non-government organizations to help save and conserve the tarsiers found on Mt. Mayapay amid continuing threat of denudation and destruction of the mountain.
Datu Mansusuyat, a respected Manobo tribal leader, said there is a need for government agencies and well-meaning organizations to intervene and help preserve what he believed a “quite a number” of endangered tarsiers still existing and living in Mt. Mayapay’s habitat.
“Frankly speaking as of now, we received no single help, assistance from the LGUs, national government agencies in the provision of Bantay Gubat or forest wardens. We are doing the job of protecting Mt. Mayapay our own, ” he said.
“This is considering that Philippine government also mandated by constitution to protect wildlife and ecosystems of Mt. Mayapay,” Mansusuyat added.
On May 31, two tarsiers were found by a Manobo farmer clinging to the low-lying branches of Bansilag tree at a forested area in Sitio Ugabang, Barangay Bonbon, Butuan City.
Days later, the male and female tarsiers were released back in the wild.
Claimed by the Manobo and Higaonon tribes as their ancestral land, Mt. Mayapay is a magnificent mountain located east of Butuan City, considered the range’s highest peak is 2,335 feet above sea level with a plateau formation above it, by which its predominant feature is the city’s backdrop.
Aside from tarsier, other endangered animals such as deer, cloud rats and tamaraw are believed to be lurking deep in the remote jungles of Mt. Mayapay.
But tribesmen lamented, slash and burn or kaingin, quarrying and rapid land conversion posed a serious threat to the biodiversity and ecological balance of Mt. Mayapay that straddles parts of Butuan City and Buenavista town in Agusan del Norte.