Together for Tamaraws
One of the many knock-on effects of the pandemic is how millions of jobs related to promoting and protecting rare species and natural habitats have been lost. With tourists no longer visiting places such as the Island of Mindoro, in the Philippines, to see the rare tamaraw – a type of buffalo that can only be found here - rangers who protected them lost their incomes. As such, the Biodiversity Finance initiative of Philippines, alongside the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and UNDP Philippines, launched a crowdfunding campaign to ensure these rangers can proceed to support themselves and protect tamaraws.
Endemic only to the island of Mindoro, Tamaraws are a critically endangered species with only 480 left that roam the Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park. Over several decades, the species has come under threat from poachers, hunting and the loss of their natural habitat to agriculture. However, as a result of the protection and conservation efforts of rangers, the population has somewhat recovered. The COVID-19 pandemic now shifted the threat onto the frontliners that mainly consists of the indigenous population, Mangyan who lost their financial stability once the park closed. 33 out of the 59 of the tamaraw frontliners were thus furloughed.
The crowdfunding campaign “Together for Tamaraws” was active between July and October 2020 with the goal to ensure that the frontliners can resume their work in protecting tamaraws.
The campaign sought to raise US$ 25,000 (PhP1,194,000), though through its efforts it was able to raise US$32,000. It surpassed its initial target by almost 40% thanks to the contributions of 194 local and foreign donors, including Filipino expatriates.