animal welfare

DENR probes vlogger’s ‘improper treatment’ of tarsiers in viral video

John Sitchon

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DENR probes vlogger’s ‘improper treatment’ of tarsiers in viral video

ENDANGERED. A visibly stressed tarsier can be seen being held by an individual in vlogger Farm Boy's video.

Screenshot of Farm Boy video footage

(1st UPDATE) 'Ignorance of the law excuses no one,' says one netizen in response to the now-deleted video of vlogger Ryan Parreño

CEBU, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Soccsksargen said on Wednesday, April 10, that it is investigating the incident involving a vlogger’s “improper treatement” of tarsiers shown in his video that went viral on social media.

“This is to inform the public that the DENR-12 monitoring and enforcement team received a report on Monday, April 8 about a disturbing video of improper treatment of Philippine Tarsiers posted on social media by a certain vlogger named “Farm Boy” from Polomolok, South Cotabato,” DENR-Soccsksargen said in a statement posted on social media.

“The Department already investigated the matter and found out that the two tarsiers were already released by the vlogger to the wild, yet the agency is still looking for further actions to be taken on the wildlife incident,” it added.

In the now-deleted video that went viral on social media on Wednesday, April 10, vlogger Ryan Parreño, a resident of Polomolok, South Cotabato, who goes by the handle Farm Boy, can be seen picking up a tarsier and laughing with another individual while asking the animal to smile for the camera.

“Smile, baby, smile,” Parreño said in a video while gripping a tarsier in his hand.

The incident happened in Polomolok.

Environmental lawyer Esther Gertrude Biliran told Rappler said that the actions of Parreño and disturbed the tarsier and counted as maltreatment.

“A tarsier is not supposed to be touched or disturbed. It is a nocturnal animal and should not be disturbed in their sleep,” the lawyer said.

Amid strong criticism of Parreño, the vlogger reasoned in another social media post that they were transferring the tarsiers to a wildlife area since the animals were in a community zone. Many netizens were enraged with how the vlogger used the tarsiers for “content” and online reactions.

“Ignorance of the law excuses no one,” netizen John Argiel Laurente Victor said in a comment on Parreño’s post.

Dapat sa mga ganitong tao pinapakulong (People like these should be imprisoned),” netizen Roel Fucio said in a social media post.

Defending tarsiers

According to the Endangered Species International, Incorporated, wild tarsiers that are caught and kept in captivity only show around a 50% rate of survival and in many cases, commit suicide due to stress.

Under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, transporting wildlife, maltreatment and/or inflicting injuries on the animals are considered illegal acts.

These acts are punishable by imprisonment of 10 days to one month and a fine of P1,000 to P5,000 if the species is listed as “other threatened species (OTS).”

The DENR through Administrative Order No. 2019-09 listed the tarsier as OTS.

In 1997, President Fidel V. Ramos signed Presidential Proclamation No. 1030, declaring the Philippine tarsier as a “Specially Protected Faunal Species of the Philippines.”

“In pursuit thereof, the hunting, killing, wounding, taking away or possession of the Philippine Tarsier and the conduct of activities destructive of its habitats are hereby prohibited,” the proclamation read.

Rappler has reached out to the vlogger for a comment on the issue but has yet to receive any reply. –

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