I was inspired to share my close encounter with this special creature after reading a post about wandering monkeys. This special creature is the Philippine tarsier. 🙂
My not-so-recent latest trip to Bohol was back in 2010, which is what I normally would call a vacation within a vacation.
For most Filipinos, Bohol is synonymous to the Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier. We were taught about this in our grade school days. Thank goodness I was mentally awake at that time!
Although it was my 2nd time to be there, we’ve decided to revisit them all again.
The Philippine tarsier is one of the smallest primates in the world. They have big round eyes (yet, they cannot close their eye sockets), a really long tail, and a cute chubby body. They could also rotate their heads up to 180 degrees (just like the owls). And similarly, they are nocturnal beings.
They are endangered and are on the verge of extinction. The Philippines, particularly Bohol, is home to some of them.
The one we visited was near Loboc river and to my surprise, it was a small caged environment. I was in disbelief at first (because it was a relatively small environment plus the worry that they might not even show up). How can there be any tarsiers here? The natural habitat of a tarsier is supposedly a humid rainforest. To my dismay, it wasn’t even a sound copy of that.
I was relieved to find out that they are there. I felt a bit bad to “invade” their privacy (guilty!) but I really wanted to see them.
Anyway, this environment allowed for the visitors to come in close to them. According to our guide, before, you could actually hold them. But due to them being extinct, it isn’t allowed anymore. We weren’t allowed to use our camera flash as well, as it could damage their eyes.
What I noticed when I was there was that they are really sensitive of other people’s movements. At some point, I actually saw them quickly hop from one tree to another and hop around again. It made me a bit afraid that it might come over me and do something. I know there’s no point in that (because they’re so tiny!). I realized, they were probably just afraid of the sudden noises and movements.
They are very sensitive to sound and to light and these things probably caused them to move away. Plus the fact that rather than sleeping(them being nocturnal), they have to be disturbed, move and “be cute” at daylight because of the visitors.
Poor little thing.
I hope you got a good day’s sleep. Sorry for invading your privacy!
Apart from that, they get easily stressed and are very much suicidal in captivity!! Really. They would just go and smash their heads thus causing to break their tiny skull and die. It’s so unfortunate, and I feel really bad for them for even violating their space (and especially those who kept on using their camera’s flash!!!). You could just imagine how they must feel being kept in captivity.
But that was 2010. Things could’ve changed now, right? I hope. I haven’t gone back to Bohol since then, I just hope that they are in better condition and in a more suitable habitat now.
Quick Tips: When visiting the tarsier, remember: (a) no camera flash, (b) no loud voice/noise and (c) no touching!
Other FYIs read from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_tarsier