Kalibasib, the only surviving Philippine tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) bred in captivity, has died last Saturday, October 10.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) OIC Assistant Secretary for Climate Change and concurrent Director of the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Ricardo Calderon confirmed the death of the animal in a text message to the Manila Bulletin.

“[Before he died], Kalibasib had slight diarrhea. It was already sent to the San Jose Municipal Veterinary Office in Occidental Mindoro for necropsy,” Calderon said. “Old age is also suspected as the cause of its death because it was born in 1999.”

The name “Kalibasib” is an acronym for Kalikasan Bagong Sibol or a nature newly sprung. He was born in June 24, 1999, which made him about 21 years old. According to experts, the average life span of the buffalo is 20 to 25 years.

In 1980, the government opened a Gene Pool Farm and brought in 20 adult tamaraws from the wild in an effort to breed them in captivity and help in their conservation. Among the tamaraws were Kalibasib’s parents.

However, all 20 tamaraws for the gene pool have died, with all that’s left was Kalibasib.

Sadly, Kalibasib died during the celebration of National Tamaraw Month this October.

Every year as per the Presidential Proclamation 273 of 2002, October is a “Special Month for the Conservation and Protection of the Tamaraw in Mindoro.”

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