Coron, Palawan (pixabay)
Biodiversity refers to the existence of a wide range of plant and animal species on the planet. Biodiversity is essential for maintaining the earth's balance. Everything is also dependent on the biological diversity of various plants and animals. However, biodiversity is dwindling due to a variety of factors. If it does not stop, our planet may cease to be a viable place to live. As a result, various measures aid in increasing the earth's biodiversity.
The Philippines is one of the world's 18 mega-biodiverse countries, accounting for two-thirds of the planet's biodiversity and 70 percent to 80 percent of all plant and animal species. The Philippines is home to 5% of the world's flora and ranks fifth in plant species. The nation ranks fourth in bird endemism, with at least 25 genera of plants and 49 percent of terrestrial wildlife protected by species endemism. With at least 700 endangered species, the Philippines is also one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, making this one of the top global conservation areas.
In 2004, they presented a list of endangered faunal species that includes 42 land mammal species, 127 bird species, 24 reptile species, and 14 amphibian species. The Philippines has at least 3,214 fish species, with about 121 endemic and 76 endangered species. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources released an administrative order in 2007 that developed a national list of threatened plant species, suggesting that 99 species were critically endangered, 187 endangered, 176 vulnerable, and 64 other threatened species.
Biodiversity is critical to the ecological system's survival. Especially noteworthy, many plant and animal species are mutually dependent. As a result, if one of them goes extinct, the others will become endangered as well. It is vital for humans because we rely on plants and animals for our survival. Humans, for example, need food to survive, which we obtain from plants. We can't overstate the importance of flora and fauna biodiversity. As a result, we should take a variety of countermeasures to prevent species extinction. We should reduce vehicle emissions should be reduced so that the beasts can breathe fresh air. Furthermore, it would reduce global warming, which is the leading cause of species extinction.
Banawe Rice Terraces, Philippines (pixabay)
How do we increase biodiversity?
Building wildlife corridors entails establishing links between wildlife habitats. Many animals are unable to cross great distances, which causes them not to reproduce. We used various engineering methods to create wildlife corridors that enable animals to move freely. We can set up gardens to increase biodiversity. We can encourage residential houses to have plant gardens at home. In our yard or on our patio, we can cultivate a variety of plants and animals. It helps in improving the amount of fresh air in the home.
In protected areas, biodiversity is conserved in protected areas such as wildlife refuges and zoos. They, for example, protect plants and animals in their natural habitat. These locations are also remote from any human civilization. As a result, the ecosystem is well-maintained, making it ideal for flora and fauna to reproduce. There are various wildlife sanctuaries across the country. Furthermore, these areas are the only reason that certain animal species are not extinction-threatened. We should expand protected areas around the world.
The next step to help increase biodiversity is what we called rewilding. Rewilding repairs the damages we have done by reintroducing endangered species to areas where they have become extinct. Various human activities such as hunting and tree cutting have put biodiversity in jeopardy in recent years. The Philippines is the natural habitat of thousands of species, aside from favorite travel destinations. More than half of the Philippines' 50,000 species of flora and fauna are found nowhere else on the planet. However, many endangered species in the Philippines are on the verge of extinction, owing to widespread hunting. Because of the country's biological diversity, it is also home to a huge population of endangered animal species.
What are the endangered species in the Philippines?
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), 418 animal species in the Philippines are threatened, meaning they are vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. The International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species is the world's most comprehensive source of information on the global conservation status of animal, fungi, and plant species.
The IUCN Red List is a crucial indicator of the world's biodiversity's wellbeing. It is far more than a list of species and their current status; it is a powerful tool for informing and catalyzing biodiversity conservation and policy change. It contains data on range, population size, habitat and environment, use or trade, and threats. The IUCN designed the Red List Categories and Criteria to be an easy-to-understand system for classifying species at high risk of extinction in the world. It categorizes species into nine groups: Not Evaluated, Data Deficient, Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild, and Extinct.
Here are the Critically Endangered Species in the Philippines that need attention before they go extinct and will never be seen by future generations again:
Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi)
The Philippine eagle, also known as the monkey-eating eagle, is a native of the southern Philippines. It has a bushy breast and a white and brown feather appearance. It is one of the world's largest and most powerful birds. A fully grown adult can reach a height of four feet (ft) and weigh up to nine pounds (kg). Deforestation, mining, and pollution are the cause and threats to the Philippine eagle's survival.
A Philippine eagle at the Philippine Eagle Center, Davao City. (wikimedia)
The Philippine eagle is on the IUCN's red list of critically endangered species. The IUCN added it to the list of animals in danger of extinction in 1988. It was listed as critically endangered in the 1990s. There are only a few of these eagles left in the world. For the past 56 years, their world population has been steadily declining. Lawmakers passed a law that protects the Philippine eagle from poachers and hunters, but its population continues to decline due to poor implementation of the law.
Mt. Apo and Mt. Katinglad are the natural habitats of the Philippine Eagle. It is one of the countries nature parks and protected areas. The Philippine Eagle Center performs captive breeding to help increase its population.
Philippine Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis)
They are endemic to the Philippines and are known locally as Mindoro crocodiles. The Philippine freshwater crocodile grows to be about four and a half to five feet long and weighs about 15 kilograms. The IUCN has classified the Mindoro crocodile as critically endangered. According to reports, there are only 250 of them left in the country as of September 2011. We can attribute the decline of the Philippine freshwater crocodile to illegal hunting and dynamite fishing.
An adult Crocodylus mindorensis photographed in 2012 on the island of Palawan in the Philippines by Gregg Yan. (wikimedia)
The IUCN red list currently lists the Philippine freshwater crocodile as a critically endangered species. According to population trend estimates, the population of this species is continuing to decline. The cause of the steady decline of freshwater crocodiles is the excessive commercial exploitation and massive clearing of rainforests, which are crocodile's natural habitat, to make farmlands.
A freshwater crocodile in the wild. (wikimedia)
Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis)
The Tamaraw, also known as the Mindoro dwarf buffalo, is the Philippines' only known indigenous bovine. The original habitat of this species was largely intact and undamaged until the twentieth century. From the plains to the mountains, they were once found all over Mindoro Island. However, the population declines to around 200 individuals, with many of them bred in captivity. The causes of its population decline are illegal hunting, logging, and residential land clearing. The IUCN listed the Tamaraw is a critically endangered animal in the Philippines.
A tamaraw bull (Bubalus mindorensis) crossing a grassy field in National Park, Occidental Mindoro. (wikimedia)
Walden's Hornbill (Aceros waldeni)
It is also known as the Visayan Wrinkled Hornbill and is locally known as a Kalaw. We can found the Kalaw on the Philippine islands of Panay and Negros, and some other parts of the country, including Mindanao's Zamboanga del Norte. Excessive hunting and illegal logging resulted in the extinction of this species in the Negros and Guimaras regions. As a result, The IUCN added to the country's IUCN Red List of critically endangered species.
A Walden Hornbill flying. (wikimedia)
Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons)
The IUCN lists this land mammal as a critically endangered species in the Philippines. We can found these pigs throughout the central Philippines, particularly in Cebu, Panay, and Negros. Although some experts think few herds exist in Masbate. Illegal hunting, logging, and agricultural land clearing contributed to the extinction of this species in Cebu. People converted the animals' natural habitats into rice fields to meet the region's increasing demand for crops. Only a few herds are in captivity breeding, but these are of a small population. Some pigs still exist in the wild, but extremely rare.
A pair of Visayan Warty Pigs photographed in Negros, Philippines. (wikimedia)
Many species are critically endangered, but the five mentioned earlier need more attention. Also, these animals are endemic to the Philippines. There are laws enacted to protect the wildlife but poorly implemented. Again, Biodiversity is essential for maintaining the earth's balance.
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- Top 50 Critically Endangered Animals in the Philippines
- The Importance Of Biodiversity In The Philippines
- Philippine Freshwater Crocodiles: Freshwater Species of the Week
- Philippine Eagle
- Watch an endangered eagle chick grow up in rare video
- Tamaraw, Bubalus mindorensis
- Rufous-headed Hornbills or Walden's Hornbills
- Visayan Warty Pig
- Philippines Biodiversity