Camperspoint Philippines

Philippine Fauna

Friday 27 August 2004, by catseye

The Philippines is known for its wide variety of wildlife. It is the only country on earth which has dwarf and pygmy species of many ecological families. There are about 220 species of mammals including the Carabaos- the native water buffalo highly recognized for its strength and endurance in plowing the fields. Goats, horses hogs, monkeys, dogs squirrels, lemurs, mice, pangolins (scaly anteaters) chevrotains (mouse deers) mongooses, civet cats, and red brown deer inhabit the whole archipelago But the Tamaraw, a smaller species of Carabao can only be found in Mindoro. Birds in the Philippines of which most are migrants now have been counted to 500 species. These are the jungle fowls, pigeons, peacocks, pheasants, doves, parrots, hornbills, kingfishers, sunbirds, tailorbirds, weaverbirds, herons and quails. Many unique species are present in Palawan including the Palawan Peacock Pheasants- a large colorful bird with remarkable feathers and long pointed tail feathers. The male of this species have a metallic blue head, long white eyebrows and large metallic blue or purple eye images on the tail. Pheasants originally came from Asia but can be found recently in many places of Europe and America. However, due to brutal exploitation of their assets and habitat, they are now threatened with extinction. The most famous of the bird family is the Haribon or the Philippine Eagle. This rare and endangered monkey-eating eagle is now restricted to isolated areas of Mindanao and Sierra Madre for conservation. And about 56 unusual species of bats mainly of different kinds thrive in the dark caves of Philippines’ dense jungles. The glaring speckle of marine life turns the Philippine waters into an incredible sight of over 500 species of hard and soft corrals and over 2000 varied species of fish. Some common species which are sold commercially are the tuna, mackerel, cuttlefish squid, shrimp, lobster and crabs. Whale sharks, the largest fish known to reach up to 20 meters in length that visit the waters of Sorsogon, and the gathering of Manta rays in Ticao Island near Masbate contributed to the assortment of marine creatures in the country. Their unreasonable exploitation in the past years responded to a delicate process of change and thus being subjected to conservation plans. Contrary to their humongous size, Pandaka, the dwarf pygmy inhabiting the rivers of Malabon and the Tabios of Lake Buhi is also nearing extinction due to its improper commercialization. The Philippine marine turtles that inhabited the islands since hundreds of years are now stepping into endangered level. These are the green sea turtle, olive ridley, leatherback and hawksbill although loggerhead. Their high commercial value as souvenir items and accessories dramatically decreased their number. Shells in the Philippines comprise over a thousand species including some very rare collector’s specimen and even poisonous ones. They range from the tiny Picidium to the giant Tridacna gigas to over a thousand species of land snails. Due to the strong demand of international market, and their massive commercial reproduction, the existence of the shell species has declined severely. One of these extravagantly sold shell crafts is the Capiz, which is used for home furnishing such as windows, lamps, and doors. Pearls are widely produced and cultivated in the lush islands of Mindanao. However, the considered largest pearl called “The Peal of Lao-Tze was found in Palawan by a local diver in 1934. It measures about 6.4 kg and 24 by 14 cm. Pearl cultivation is a source of livelihood in Davao, Sulu and southern Palawan, such magnificent but inexpensive jewel notably sums up the richness of the Philippine marine life. There are about 25,000 varieties of insects in the islands. Butterflies alone have a wide array of assortment which is adored mainly for collection and spectacle. About 800 species of prominent butterflies inhabit the islands of Palawan, Mindanao and Sulu. One of which is the Papilio trojano, a kind found in Palawan. It is considered the largest of its kind with a normal wingspan of 18 centimeters. In order to preserve the diminishing existence of some of the rarest animals found only in this country, necessary actions should be accomplished immediately. The ecosystem-rich islands of the Philippines may be deserted in the next century if they are not considered seriously.

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