Tarsier owner being hunted

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04:43 AM June 23rd, 2013

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June 23rd, 2013 04:43 AM

‘LOST IN THE CITY’ Tarsier found at the Manila Golf Club stares at the camera from inside the cardboard box where it stayed until wildlife officials took it away. RAFFY LERMA

MANILA, Philippines—Authorities are tracking down the owner of a tarsier that was found at the Manila Golf and Country Club in Makati City who may be charged with illegally keeping the endangered primate.

Dr. Mundita Lim of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) said investigators would be talking to people in the area surrounding the club in Forbes Park, an elite residential area.

“It will be a little hard to trace the owner but we believe the owner is just in the area. The tarsier cannot travel long distances,” the official said.

Lim said there were no registered owners of tarsiers in Metro Manila, although there were registered owners in Bohol.

“Once, we caught a pet shop selling a tarsier. On another occasion, we spotted a couple in a mall with a tarsier,” she said in a phone interview.

The owner of the tarsier may be charged with illegal possession of an endangered species under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources and Conservation Protection Act.

As of Saturday, the tarsier—found by a caddie on the lower branches of a tamarind tree—has been transferred to the PAWB.

The tarsier is being observed before it is examined. Lim said the quarantine normally takes one month.

The attending veterinarian, Dr. Rizza Salinas, reported that the tarsier, an adult male,  seemed to be in a bad mood but it was in apparently fair physical condition. “It moved quickly and hid among the leaves inside the cage. And it ate the food that we gave it. It weighs 104 grams.” Julie M. Aurelio

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