I am always against tarsiers or any animal for that matter, to be caged. Like what I wrote on my sidebar (see right portion), the tarsiers in Bohol, specifically in Loboc areas are stressed to the maximum level due to the influx of tourists day and night. One does not have to be a scientist or an expert to see and conclude that these tarsiers are highly stressed.
One basic example of tolerated neglect that could cause stress among tarsiers is the handler himself. There are signages in those areas in Loboc telling visitors that handling tarsiers or using camera flashes are not allowed. But you can always see these handlers/owners taking the sleepy primates off from their branch of choice and hand them to excited tourists for a shot or two, maybe even more, some using flash. See the pic being used here? I grabbed it from www.primates.com and it unabashingly promotes handling of tarsiers by tourists.
So the move of the Bohol provincial government to pass a resolution banning the issuance of permits from DENR to prospective enterprising Boholanos using tarsiers as unwilling business partners as well as attractions is a welcomed action. I wonder why this takes so long. (See: Bohol officials rescue caged tarsiers, Inquirer.net, 12/06/2008)
But I think passing a resolution is never enough. If laws on protecting endangered species like the tarsier have been consistently disregarded, how much more a resolution? I’m neither a politician nor a lawyer who knows the circuitous process of the law, but the name itself does not prove it has teeth. I believe there is an endangered species act signed long time ago, long before the people of Loboc started caging tarsiers for easy public viewing. But what happened? Why these businesses proliferate in the province?
Another case that should also need our lawmakers’ attention is the python in the town of Alburquerque. The owners may have a different interpretation of the word sanctuary because the Coca-Cola sponsored signage at the entrance to the site suggested it is a python sanctuary. Or are they right when they held captive that python so it will not become a source of food among Boholanos? Does a steel cage justify asylum in this case?
With Bohol now on the tourist map, the lawmakers and the people of Bohol in general should make the things around them as top priority and as important as making money out from them. Misuse and negligence could lead to more disastrous events in the future. The overly used aphorism “for our children’s children” could never happen in the future.