In a bid to protect the life and livelihood linked to tamaraws, Canon Philippines produced a 60-minute documentary scheduled for nationwide release in March.
Entitled “Suwag o Suko,” the documentary features footages of the expedition to Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park in Mindoro, the last frontier of tamaraws. Canon teamed up with the United Nations Development Programme and Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Biodiversity Finance Initiative.
Considered one of the world’s critically endangered animals, the water buffalos are closely watched by a band of 23 rangers from the Tamaraw Conservation Program. The joint initiative sheds light on the program’s conservation efforts and the many realities the rangers face in the call of duty.
“Hidden from sight, the challenge of conservation becomes all the more difficult. That’s why Canon Philippines and our partners are pooling our resources together to share the cause of the rangers to a wider audience,” said vice president Anuj Aggarwal.
The docu-film follows the trail of rangers, from when they leave camp to when they overcome external threats of weather, tensions arising from cultural practices, and come home to choose to strike or surrender their cause for another day.
The documentary premiered at the National Museum of the Philippines in October 2019, in celebration of the National Tamaraw Month.
With full intent to reach as many local viewers as possible, “Suwag o Suko’s” narrative is told in the language of the rangers (Filipino) and is intended to be translated for native speakers of Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Visayan, Chavacano, and Bicolano.
“We do not want to simply raise funds for tamaraw conservation through this film. We also want to spread awareness of the plight of the largest land mammal in the Philippines, similar to our very own Philippine Eagle, which is well known by Filipinos and people around the world,” said Ricardo Calderon, assistant secretary for climate change and concurrent director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau of DENR.
The DENR is currently reviewing the Tamaraw Conservation Program in order to strengthen the conservation of the critically endangered tamaraw.
“Found nowhere else in the world, the tamaraws are a source of pride for Filipinos. As the film’s viewers will discover, the survival of these animals is closely linked to the lives of rangers and communities surrounding the conserved area,” said Aggarwal.
Aggarwal added, “Suwag o Suko is a call for solidarity, for us to collectively stand with the rangers and show our support for the Tamaraw’s and country’s biodiversity conservation efforts.”
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