The Philippines is home to some of the world’s smallest and largest plants and animals. But due to human activities, they are now threatened to extinction.
Here they are…
Philippine Eagle – Biggest Eagle in the World
Also known as the Monkey-eating Eagle, the critically endangered Philippine Eagle is one of the largest eagles in the world. With scientific name Pithecophaga jefferyi, the Philippine eagle lives in the rainforests of Isabela, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.
Philippine Cockatoo – Endangered Cockatoo
The Philippines is home to some of the world’s most exotic birds. Of the 185 species of birds endemic to the country, the exotic Kalangay or the Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia) is considered endangered. Some cockatoos can live up to 50 years. They are known for mimicking human voices. Most of them measure 33 centimeters in length and weigh 0.29 kilogram.
Giant Golden Crowned Fruit Bat – Biggest Bat in the World
The virgin forest of Subic Bay and Bataan is home to the world’s largest bat – the Golden Crown Flying Fox (Acerodon jubatus). It is greatly endangered due to loss of habitat.
Large Flying Fox – Largest Bat by Wingspan
The Large Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus) feeds exclusively on fruits. This bat is noted for being the largest member of the bat family by wingspan, which reaches six feet. A recent update by the IUCN has listed the species as Near Threatened and mentioned its near-vulnerable status. It is also known as the Greater Flying Fox and locally named Kalang or Kalong.
Philippine Flying Lemur
One of the most distinct creatures on Earth lives in the Philippines – Cynocephalus volans. It doesn’t have wings but it can glide across 100 meters of space in a single leap. Like the lemurs of Asia, it moves around at night. Its head resembles that of a dog while its body has similarities with the flying squirrel of Canada.
Philippine Tarsier – Smallest Primate in the World
The cute-looking Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) is considered as the world’s smallest primate. It measures only about twelve centimeters in length. This unique creature with very large eyes can be found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol and Mindanao.
Philippine Mouse Deer – Smallest Hoofed Animal
Balabac Island, Palawan is the home of the world’s smallest hoofed mammal – the Philippine Mouse Deer (Tragalus nigricans). Locally known as Pilandok, this ruminant stands only about 40 centimeters at the shoulder level.
Philippine Spotted Deer – Most Endangered Deer
One of the world’s rarest mammals lives in the dwindling forest of Panay Island. It is the Philippine Spotted Deer (Cervus alfredi), considered by many as the most endangered deer in the planet. It is also known as Visayan Spotted Deer.
Calamian Islands in Palawan province keep a species of deer that cannot be found elsewhere. Scientists referred to the hog deer in the islands as Calamian deer in order to distinguish them from other hog deer in the world. Calamian Deer or Axis calamianensis is also known as Calamian Hog Deer
Pygmy Water Buffalo – Largest Endangered Animal
People used to call Mindoro as the “Land of the Tamaraws”. About 10,000 heads of these unique pygmy water buffalos were roaming around the island-province of Mindoro in the 1900s. But that was a century ago. Today, the Tamaraws in the province are in danger of extinction, and Mindoro might lose the symbol that it once proudly introduced to the world.
Palawan Bearcat is neither a bear nor a cat. Known in Southeast Asia as Binturong, the Bearcat is a species of its own, with population in the forests of Palawan, Borneo, Burma and Vietnam. It belongs to the family of Viverridae.
Dugong – Herbivorous Marine Mammal
Dugongs or Sea Cows, the only herbivorous marine mammals, are often sighted in Philippine waters, particularly near Palawan province and southern Mindanao. Their population is dwindling very fast.
Dwarf Pygmy Goby – Smallest Freshwater Fish in the World
The world’s second smallest freshwater fish can be found in the Philippines – the Dwarf Pygmy Goby (Pandaka pygmaea). It measures 1.2 centimeters or less than half of an inch making it the second tiniest known vertebrate. In comparison, it’s no bigger than an ant. The species is considered vanishing or extinct in the Philippines due to polluted local waters or land reclamation projects.
Sinarapan – Smallest Commercial Fish in the World
The Philippines is home to Sinarapan (Mistichthys luzonensis), the world’s smallest commercially-harvested fish. It is a goby found only in Lakes Bato and Buhi in Camarines Sur province. Sinarapan is a transparent fish that grows to an average length of 1.25 centimeters, only slightly longer than the Dwarf Goby. The Sinarapan are threatened with extinction due to overfishing.
Uruy– World’s Largest Flower
Rafflesia sp. is a large parasitic plant known. It has the largest flower among the Rafflesia species. In February 2002, an environmental organization discovered the world’s largest flowers in Sibalom National Park, Antique. Measuring about 22 inches in diameter, the endangered flower, locally named as ‘Uruy’. It has no stem and leaves.
Waling-waling – Largest Orchids in the World
Waling-waling or Euanthe sanderiana is described as the “Queen of Philippine Orchids”. It is one of the largest species of orchids in the world. These exotic flowering orchids are now very rare in their natural habitats.
I hope future generations can still see them alive not on pictures and videos only. Let’s start the conservation of these amazing living organisms. Let’s help preserve these plants and animals for us and for our posterity.