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Most Endangered Species in the Philippines – On the Verge of Extinct

Endangered Species in the Philippines

Endangered species in the Philippines refer to those animal and plant species that are at risk of becoming extinct. These species are classified as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria. In the Philippines, there are various endangered species, including but not limited to the Philippine eagle, Philippine tarsier, Philippine crocodile, Philippine mouse-deer, and the Tawi-Tawi forest frog. Many of these species are endemic, which means they can only be found in the Philippines and nowhere else in the world. The loss of habitat due to deforestation, hunting, and poaching for the exotic pet trade are some of the leading causes of species endangerment in the Philippines. Climate change, pollution, and overfishing are also contributing factors. The loss of these species has a severe impact on the ecosystem, and its effects can be felt across various levels, including ecological, social, and economic. Efforts to preserve and protect endangered species in the Philippines include the establishment of protected areas, implementing stricter laws and policies, promoting sustainable practices, and increasing public awareness. These efforts are crucial in ensuring the survival of these unique and valuable species for generations to come.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines

The Philippines is a country known for its diverse range of animal species and has been recognized as one of the 17 mega-diverse nations worldwide by Conservation International, a non-profit organization that aims to protect the environment. Being a mega-diverse country means that the Philippines has a significant amount of biodiversity, including a variety of genetic, genus, and bio-network mixtures. However, this biodiversity also puts many of the country’s animal species at risk of becoming endangered or extinct. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), as of the publication of this article, 418 animal species in the Philippines have been identified as threatened. This means that these species are categorized as either vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, based on the IUCN’s red list criteria. This is concerning, given the importance of biodiversity in maintaining healthy ecosystems and the potential impact of losing these species on the environment and other living organisms. Therefore, it is crucial to continue efforts to protect and preserve the unique animal species found in the Philippines.

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Top 10 Most Endangered Species in the Philippines

The Top 10 Most Endangered Species in the Philippines represent just a small fraction of the many animal species that are facing the threat of extinction in the country. As a mega-diverse country, the Philippines is home to a vast array of unique and rare animal species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. However, the rapid pace of development, deforestation, climate change, and other human activities have resulted in a significant loss of habitat and biodiversity, putting many of these species at risk. The Philippine Eagle, for example, is a majestic bird of prey that can only be found in the country’s forests. However, due to deforestation and hunting, the Philippine Eagle is now one of the rarest and most critically endangered birds in the world, with only an estimated 400 pairs left in the wild. The Philippine Tarsier, a tiny primate with large eyes, is also facing the threat of extinction due to habitat loss and the illegal pet trade. These animals, and many others like them, play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of the country’s forests and ecosystems.

The protection and conservation of endangered species in the Philippines are essential not only for their survival but also for the well-being of human communities. Many of these animals serve as indicators of the health of the environment and play a critical role in providing essential ecosystem services, such as pollination, seed dispersal, and pest control. Furthermore, many of these species have cultural and historical significance, serving as symbols of the country’s rich biodiversity and unique heritage. Efforts to protect endangered species in the Philippines include the establishment of protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries, and conservation programs. However, much more needs to be done to address the complex challenges facing these animals, such as improving law enforcement to combat illegal hunting and poaching and implementing sustainable development practices to reduce habitat loss. By working together to protect and conserve endangered species in the Philippines, we can ensure that these unique animals continue to thrive for generations to come.

Here is the list of the top 10 endangered species in the Philippines:

S.No.

Endangered Species

Zoological Name

1

Philippine Eagle

Pithecophaga jefferyi

2

Philippine Freshwater Crocodile

Crocodylus mindorensis

3

Tamaraw

Bubalus mindorensis

4

Walden’s Hornbill

Aceros waldeni

5

Visayan Warty Pig

Sus cebifrons

6

Philippine Cockatoo

Cacatua haematuropygia

7

Negros Bleeding-heart 

Gallicolumba keayi

8

Philippine Naked-backed Fruit Bat

Dobsomia chapmani

9

Philippine Forest Turtle

Siebenrockiella leytensis

10

Dinagat Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat

Crateromys australis

1. Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi)

The Philippine Eagle, scientifically known as Pithecophaga jefferyi, is a majestic bird of prey that is endemic to the southern regions of the Philippines. Known also as the monkey-eating eagle, it is considered one of the largest and most powerful birds in the world. It is characterized by a brown and white feather pattern and a bushy crest atop its head. A fully-grown adult can reach a height of up to four feet and weigh as much as nine kilograms. Despite being the national bird of the Philippines, the Philippine eagle is critically endangered and is on the IUCN red list of threatened species. It has been listed as endangered since 1988 and as critically endangered in the 1990s. The species’ population has been declining steadily over the past 56 years, with deforestation, mining, and pollution identified as major threats to their survival.

Various measures have been taken to protect the Philippine eagle, including the passing of legislation, but poor enforcement has resulted in continued decline in their numbers. The eagles are now mainly found in protected areas, with conservation efforts being focused on breeding programs, habitat restoration, and raising public awareness about their conservation status.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines - On the Verge of Extinct

2. Philippine Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis)

The Philippine freshwater crocodile, also known as the Mindoro crocodile, is a small species of crocodile that is endemic to the Philippines. This crocodile species is unique because it is adapted to freshwater environments, unlike other crocodile species that thrive in saltwater habitats. Unfortunately, the Philippine freshwater crocodile is critically endangered, with only around 250 individuals remaining in the country as of September 2011. The small size of the Philippine freshwater crocodile makes it particularly vulnerable to human activities, such as illegal hunting and dynamite fishing, which have led to a significant decline in its population. In addition, the clearing of rainforests to make way for agricultural activities has resulted in the destruction of this crocodile’s natural habitat. As a result, the Philippine freshwater crocodile is currently on the IUCN red list as a critically endangered species, with its population trend estimated to be declining.

Efforts have been made to protect this species, including the implementation of conservation laws and programs. However, the effectiveness of these initiatives is limited due to poor enforcement. As a result, the survival of the Philippine freshwater crocodile remains uncertain, and urgent action is needed to protect this species and its habitat.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines - On the Verge of Extinct

3. Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis)

The Tamaraw, also known as the Mindoro dwarf buffalo, is a unique bovine species that can only be found in the Philippines. It is a small and stocky animal with a heavyset body, short neck, and horned head. Unlike other buffalo species, it has shorter legs and distinct white markings on its hooves and inner lower forelegs. The Tamaraw’s natural habitat used to be abundant and unharmed until the 20th century. However, due to human activities such as illegal hunting, logging, and residential land clearing, the population of this species has been significantly reduced. It is now considered critically endangered, with only around 200 individuals left, most of which are bred in captivity. The average shoulder height of the Tamaraw ranges from 39 to 41 inches, while it can grow up to 7.2 feet in length. The males have thicker necks compared to the females. Adult Tamaraws have a darker grey or brown color, with distinct white markings on their hooves, inner lower forelegs, and ear tips.

To prevent the complete extinction of this unique species, several conservation efforts have been implemented. The Philippine government has established a protected area in Mindoro Island, where Tamaraws can live and breed without human interference. Additionally, various conservation organizations conduct research and promote awareness about the importance of preserving this species and its habitat. Despite these efforts, the Tamaraw remains in danger of becoming extinct.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines - On the Verge of Extinct

4. Walden’s Hornbill (Aceros waldeni)

The Kalaw, or the Visayan Wrinkled Hornbill, is a brightly colored bird endemic to the Philippine islands of Panay and Negros, but can also be found in other regions such as Zamboanga del Norte in Mindanao. Unfortunately, excessive hunting and illegal logging have resulted in the disappearance of this species in certain areas, leading to its inclusion in the IUCN Red List of critically endangered species in the country. As the world’s second most critically endangered species of hornbill, the Walden’s hornbill has a distinct bony casque atop its bill, which is reddish-orange and wrinkled in appearance. Its mandible is also distinctly ridged, and its upper chest and neck feathers share the same reddish-orange color as the casque. In addition, it has bare skin around its red eyes that adds to its unique appearance. Despite its distinctive features, this beautiful bird remains under threat due to habitat loss and illegal hunting, and conservation efforts are needed to prevent its extinction.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines - On the Verge of Extinct

5. Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons)

The Visayan Warty Pig, also known as Sus cebifrons, is a critically endangered land mammal according to the IUCN. It was once commonly found in the central Philippines, particularly on the island of Cebu, but it is now restricted to just two islands: Panay and Negros. Although some believe that a small herd may still exist on the island of Masbate, there is no confirmation of this. Illegal hunting, logging, and agricultural land clearing have been identified as the main factors behind the disappearance of this species on the island of Cebu. The natural habitats of these animals were destroyed to make way for rice fields, which have become necessary to support the growing demand for crops in the region. As a result, the species is now bred in captivity in small populations. Some individuals still live in the wild, but they are scarce, and not much is known about their natural behavior.

The Visayan Warty Pig is also known by various local names, including Cebu bearded pig, Baboy Talunon, Bakatin, and Baboy Ilahas. Adult pigs of this species can reach up to 100 cm in length. Females have a maximum shoulder height of 45 cm, while males can grow up to 63 cm. The longest tail length is around 23 cm. Adult females weigh between 20 and 35 kg, while males weigh between 35 and 40 kg. The largest adults of this species can weigh up to 80 kg. The body of this mammal is sparsely covered with bristly hairs, which are usually dark grey for males and light brown or silvery for females. Males, particularly those on Panay Island, grow tufts of hair from their heads down to their necks, which eventually become manes. The most distinguishing feature of this species is the white stripe that runs along the bridge of their noses to their mouths.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines - On the Verge of Extinct

6. Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia)

The Philippine Cockatoo, also known as Kalangay, Katala, or the Red-vented Cockatoo, is a bird species that is native to the Philippines. It was once a common sight throughout the country, but now, only a small population of approximately 180 individuals is known to exist in the wild, mostly within the forests of Palawan. The species is considered critically endangered by the IUCN due to several threats, including illegal trapping by poachers who sell them to collectors and pet enthusiasts, as well as being viewed as agricultural pests and being killed or trapped by farmers protecting their crops. One of the distinguishing features of the Philippine Cockatoo is its striking white plumage, which covers most of its body. However, its undertail coverts are a vibrant shade of red with white tips, and the feathers under its wings are a pale yellowish color. In addition to its physical features, the Philippine Cockatoo is known for its ability to mimic the human voice, making it a highly sought-after pet. This popularity as a pet, combined with the loss of its natural habitat and poaching, has led to a sharp decline in the species’ population in recent years. Therefore, conservation efforts are necessary to protect the remaining individuals and prevent this beautiful bird from becoming extinct.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines - On the Verge of Extinct

7. Negros Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba keayi)

The Negros Bleeding-heart, scientifically known as Gallicolumba keayi, is a species of pigeon that can only be found on the islands of Negros and Panay in the Philippines. Sadly, this bird is among the critically endangered pigeon species in the country listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The population of the Negros Bleeding-heart is continuously declining due to deforestation, excessive hunting for its meat, and the illegal pet trade. The Negros Bleeding-heart is a medium-sized bird that typically grows up to 30 cm tall. They usually come in pairs or flocks and are ground feeders, which makes them an easy target for poachers. The most distinctive feature of this bird is the narrow line of bright red feathers, enveloped by white feathers, on its chest and throat, which gives it its common name “bleeding-heart.”

Aside from its bleeding-heart feature, this bird is also known for its vivid array of colors. It has an iridescent green mantle that covers its crown, lesser wing coverts, nape, breast sides, and upper mantle, forming an incomplete breast band. Its inner wing coverts have a greyish-white band of feathers, while its belly feathers have a creamy white color. Overall, the Negros Bleeding-heart is a very colorful and unique bird that is highly valued by collectors, which makes it a target for poaching.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines - On the Verge of Extinct

8. Philippine Naked-backed Fruit Bat (Dobsomia chapmani)

The Philippine Naked-backed Fruit Bat, scientifically known as Dobsomia chapmani, is a large bat species found in the caves of Negros Island in the Philippines. They are currently listed as critically endangered by the IUCN due to habitat loss caused by deforestation and agricultural land clearing. Although a small population has been sighted on the island of Cebu, their numbers remain alarmingly low. These mega-bats are endemic to the Philippines, and like other fruit bats with bare backs, their wings meet along the midline of their body. Despite their large size, they are surprisingly agile when flying across the sky. An adult Dobsomia chapmani can measure anywhere from 218 mm to 221 mm in length, from the tip of its nose to its tail. They usually weigh from 125 to 143 grams. Their unique feature is the connection of their wings to their back’s midline, which gives them a furless appearance, hence their name “naked-backed” fruit bat.

In the past, the lowland forests in Negros were cut down to make way for sugar cane plantations, leading to a decline in the population of these bats. The IUCN even declared them extinct in 1996, but a small group was sighted in 2000, leading to the revocation of their classification. Nevertheless, their population remains severely threatened, and immediate conservation efforts are necessary to prevent their extinction.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines - On the Verge of Extinct

9. Philippine Forest Turtle (Siebenrockiella leytensis)

The Philippine Forest Turtle, also called the Palawan Turtle or Leyte Pond Turtle, is a freshwater turtle species that is endemic to the Palawan islands of the Philippines. It is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN due to habitat loss and over-collection for the pet trade, leading to a dramatic decline in its population. Conservation efforts have been put in place to help increase the number of Philippine Forest Turtles. However, this species is known for its hostile territorial behavior, making it difficult to thrive in captivity. Therefore, preserving its natural habitat is crucial to its survival. The Philippine Forest Turtle has distinguishing features that make it unique. While some people refer to it as the Leyte Pond Turtle, this species is not found on Leyte Island. It is exclusively native to Palawan.

The turtle has a relatively small size, growing up to 20 centimeters in length. Its shell is oval-shaped, and its color ranges from dark brown to black. The Philippine Forest Turtle has a distinctive pattern on its shell that resembles growth rings, and its skin is usually black or dark brown with some yellow markings. These markings are more prominent in younger individuals. In conclusion, the Philippine Forest Turtle is an endangered species that needs protection and conservation efforts to prevent it from becoming extinct.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines - On the Verge of Extinct

10. Dinagat Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat (Crateromys australis)

The Dinagat bushy-tailed cloud rat is a critically endangered species of rodent found exclusively on Dinagat Island in the Philippines. These creatures are strictly nocturnal and are herbivorous, meaning they feed primarily on plant material. Unfortunately, they are one of several cloud rat species in the country that are at risk of extinction, as classified by the IUCN. This is mainly due to the destruction of their natural habitat caused by deforestation, mining operations, and excessive hunting, as their meat is considered a delicacy among locals. One of the distinguishing features of the Dinagat cloud rat is its exceptionally long tail, which can grow up to 11 inches or 28 cm in length. The body of this species measures around 10.4 inches, excluding the tail. The fur of this cloud rat is typically orange or tawny-colored, lacking any noticeable patterns or markings.

Unlike other members of its family, the Dinagat cloud rat lacks a distinctive crest of fur on its head. Instead, its ears are heavily pigmented and round, with short brown hairs on each. Another unique feature of this cloud rat is its striped tail, which sets it apart from other species in its family. Additionally, the lower parts of its body have an orange hue, extending from its neck down to its belly. Overall, the Dinagat bushy-tailed cloud rat is a fascinating and endangered species that is crucial to the ecological balance of Dinagat Island.

Most Endangered Species in the Philippines - On the Verge of Extinct

Best Endangered Species in the Philippines

The Philippine Eagle, also known as the monkey-eating eagle, is a critically endangered species of bird of prey that can only be found in the forests of the Philippines. It is considered to be one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world, with a wingspan of up to 2 meters and a weight of up to 7 kg. The Philippine Eagle is a national symbol of the Philippines, and its image appears on the country’s coat of arms and on its currency. The Philippine Eagle is a top predator in the Philippine ecosystem, and its diet consists mainly of monkeys and other small mammals, birds, and reptiles. They are apex predators, meaning that they have no natural predators in their habitat. Unfortunately, the Philippine Eagle is critically endangered, with only an estimated 400 pairs left in the wild. The main threats to their survival are habitat loss due to deforestation and human encroachment, as well as hunting and trapping for the illegal wildlife trade. Conservation efforts are ongoing to protect and preserve the remaining populations, including captive breeding programs and habitat restoration projects.

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