Recently I have come back from my last trip to the Philippines. The main purpose of this trip was to finalize developing of a breeding enclosure for tarsiers as a part of a complex tarsier conservation centre in Bilar on Bohol Island. As we believe starting of the breeding facility directly in the Philippines, in the local area, can eliminate some of the factors that could possibly lead to a failure of captive breeding in the past – e. g. stress during transport, climate and natural food. This project started in early 2012 after a new area for the project purpose was chosen. The property is owned by Wings of Serenity and is situated in barangay Subayon, Bilar, a very quiet three hectare area suitable for wildlife conservation. Within this area, preparations for the tarsier conservation centre facilities have started. It was first planned that the work should be finished within an earlier time frame but unfortunately the work was interrupted due to the recent earthquake that caused material, work-power and also financial damage and loss to the project. Therefore a longer period of time was spent on the preparations for getting the tarsiers into a professionally maintained centre.
We have built a tarsier enclosure which covers an area of around 150 m2. The enclosure is covered by soft nylon net. The flooring of the enclosure is natural soil and leave matting. The foliage inside the enclosure has been planted to simulate a secondary forest environment. As the enclosure is covered with net, the food for tarsiers needs to be provided every day. Tarsiers are carnivorous therefore a variable diet including crickets, locusts, grasshoppers, cicadas, beetles, katydids, mantids, dragonflies, mealworms, lizards, geckos, baby mice will be provided. We have researched breeding techniques for some species and developed capturing techniques for other nocturnal insects found on our property, this has been possible because of the increase of insect habitat replanting done on site over the last months.
The above described steps of preparation of tarsier enclosure and tarsier food sources were the main and the basic steps conducted in developing of the tarsier breeding centre so far. I have visited the place after two and half years and was looking forward to see the final stage and decide if we can move to the next phase – finally getting tarsiers in!