The Philippines is a country rich in fauna. Because of its variety of beautiful natural resources on land, sea and air, different kinds of animals thrive in this Southeast Asian nation. In fact, the Philippines has often been identified as one of the most mega-diverse countries, serving as a natural habitat to over 52,000 species of animals.
Unfortunately, mostly due to human activities, the Philippines’ amazing biodiversity is in danger. Over 400 species of animals in this country are considered to be under threat, with their populations dwindling over the past years. The government, through the environment department, has taken steps to protect these endangered species, primarily by banning hunting them and imposing harsh penalties for such a violation.
Most Threatened Animal Species in the Philippines
As a first step to ensuring their protection, it pays to be aware of the different endangered animals in the Philippines. Here are some of them.
One look at this giant forest raptor and you will be awed by its majesty. The Philippine eagle, also known as the monkey-eating eagle, is considered to be one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world. With its long wingspan—the broadest in the world—and its crown feathers, no wonder the Philippine eagle is regarded as a royalty among birds. Sadly, though, it is among its most endangered animals in the Philippines, with only 400 pairs remaining in the wild.
It’s a good thing that the Philippine government and civil society groups are actively working to protect and even breed these rare eagles, so that they can last until the future generations.
2. Philippine Tarsier
This little creature will surely charm you with its cuteness. The Philippine tarsier is known to be the smallest primate on Earth, just about the size of an adult man’s hand. To be able to watch it awake, you have to see it at night or during the early mornings, as it is a nocturnal creature, hunting for insects when the sun is down. Be prepared to be enchanted by its wide eyes and its cute demeanor.
Actions have been taken to prevent the further dwindling of the population of this endangered animal in the Philippines, which, sadly, was hunted and turned into stuffed toys.
3. Tamaraw or Mindoro Dwarf Buffalo
You will have to go to the mountains of Mindoro, a province on the western side of the archipelago, to see this small but swift wild cattle species which are also among the most endangered animals in the Philippines. There was a time when these dwarf buffaloes, measuring only one-meter high, ran freely and widespread across the island-province of Mindoro. However, due to heavy hunting and the depletion of their natural habitat in the mountains, the tamaraws slowly decreased in population.
Thankfully, due to conservation efforts, the number of Mindoro dwarf buffaloes is steadily increasing over the past years.
4. Philippine freshwater Crocodile
They may look ferocious, but the Philippine freshwater crocodile is more the hunted than the hunter. This endangered animal in the Philippines is recognizable for its long snout and thick bony plates at the back. Its small population thrives in freshwater marshes across the country. These animals are not to be feared, because they feed mostly on fish. On the contrary, they need to be protected more.
5. Hawksbill Sea Turtle
This grateful creature of the sea is also among the most endangered animals in the Philippines, having been hunted and commercially traded before. There’s so much beauty in its striking features, particularly its mouth that resembles the sharp beak of a bird. The carapace or outer shell of the hawksbill sea turtle is also attractive, with different patterns that are pleasing to the eyes.
6. Mindoro Bleeding Heart Pigeon
This endangered animal in the Philippines is truly one-of-a-kind. Its distinct feature is a red-orange patch on its whitish breast, making it appear like the bird indeed has a bleeding heart. This bird is generally shy, seen very rarely in low-lying areas in forests where it forages on the ground for seeds, fruits and insects.
7. Rufous-Headed Hornbill
This creature of the skies, which is also among the most endangered animals in the Philippines, is like a flying piece of art. It is predominantly covered in black feather, although it has a conspicuous white band at the center of its tail. Its most interesting feature is a wrinkled bony crest, known as a casque, that seems to have been placed atop its beak.
8. Red-Vented Cuckatoo
Another bird that is also included in the list of the most endangered species in the Philippines is the red-vented cockatoo. As its name suggests, this bird is easily recognizable owing to its red undertail, which pops out of its predominantly white body. It can be found throughout the Philippines, and is considered to be a lot quieter compared to other cuckatoos.
9. Philippine Naked-backed Fruit Bat
This endangered animal endemic to the Philippines was initially thought to have become extinct, but it was rediscovered in the year 2000. It is mostly found caves in the western islands of central Philippines. It is counted as one of the largest fruit bats, and has wings that connect to the midline of the back, thus giving it a naked appearance.
10. Visayan Spotted Deer
Who knew that some species of deer also live in the Philippines? This kind of deer, which is also among the most endangered animals in the Philippines, is relatively shorter than others due to its short legs, but it is beautifully gentle in its own way. It has a distinctive pattern of buff-colored spots scattered across its brown back and sides.These animals are not just beautiful; they also contribute the ecological balance in their respective natural habitats.
Therefore, it is very important that we strive to help protect that in every way we can, especially by informing others about these endangered animals in the Philippines.
These are some of the endangered animals which can be seen in the Philippines. To protect these rare species Government and local authorities are taking respective steps to ensure their existence.