20 Most Endangered Species in the Philippines
While the Philippines is considered to have one of the world's richest ecosystems, it is also one of the countries with the most threatened and endangered plant and animal life. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, or IUCN, as well as other international environmental organizations has been in constant coordination with the local government to preserve the country's wildlife and environment.
Through the years, industrialization, deforestation, and commercial and residential land clearing have increased the list of threatened and endangered species in the Philippines. Another common cause is excessive hunting to be used for food, commerce, and as pets.
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Although there are many programs currently in place all over the country, all known most endangered species in the Philippines are still classified as such until a significant improvement on the populations of the threatened plants and animals are scientifically confirmed.
Shown below are 20 of the most endangered species in the Philippines (10 plants and 10 animals) based on the IUCN Red List.
I. Most Endangered Plants in the Philippines
Most, if not all, of these plants are threatened and endangered because of human disruption to their natural habitat, unregulated harvesting, and illegal logging.
- Kris plant (scientific name: Alocasia sanderiana)
Declared as critically endangered by the IUCN, this large-leafed, ornamental plant is indigenous to the provinces of Misamis Occidental and Bukidnon in the Philippines. It is called “kris” because of its uncanny likeness to the country's ancient wavy broad sword used by its natives for combat during olden times.
- Apitong (scientific name: Dipterocarpus grandiflorus)
Another critically endangered Philippine plant species according to the IUCN, the apitong is a medium hardwood tree endemic to the countries of Southeast Asia and India. It is used to produce many types of commodities such as lumber, paper, and charcoal.
- Dalingdingan (scientific name: Hopea malibato)
Dalingdingan is a critically endangered tree species in the Philippines, according to IUCN. It is known in the fields of chemistry and medicine as its leaves produce oligostilbenes that are said to have HIV-inhibitory properties. This tree is indigenous to the Philippines.
- Dayungon (scientific name: Agathis philippinensis)
This large, coniferous evergreen tree is native to the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It can grow up to 65 meters tall and is commonly used to reforest barren lands because it can tolerate acidic and infertile soil. It is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN.
- Dau Rai (scientific name: Dipterocarpus alatus)
This is a tropical forest tree endemic to the Southeast Asian nations of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and the Philippines. They are usually found planted beside riverbanks. Its wood is highly sought-after to be used in making top quality furniture. The bark is also popular for its medicinal properties that are known to alleviate rheumatism and liver diseases. It is tagged as an endangered species by the IUCN.
- Apnit or Bagtikan (scientific name: Parashorea malaanonan)
An IUCN tagged critically endangered large tree species found in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. It can grow to as much as 60 meters in height. It is mainly used for its timber.
- Yakal (scientific name: Shorea astylosa)
Yakal is a medium-large tree that is endemic to the Philippines. It is considered critically endangered by the IUCN. It is commonly found in the lowland forests of the islands of Luzon, Negros, Samar, and Mindanao. Its wood is known for its high level of strength and is used for constructing houses, bridges, and other structures requiring durable lumber.
- Mayapis (scientific name: Shorea palosapis)
Also called Philippine mahogany, this is another large tree species that is indigenous to the Philippines. It is included in IUCN's list of critically endangered species in the Philippines. Its wood is commonly exported because of its strength.
- Philippine Teak (scientific name: Tectona philippinensis)
A small-medium species of tree that is indigenous to the islands of Luzon and Iling in the Philippines. Its wood is also mainly used in construction. It is listed as a critically endangered Philippine plant by IUCN.
- Dinagat pitcher plant (scientific name: Nepenthes bellii)
This plant is a carnivorous plant that is endemic to Dinagat Island and Northern Mindanao in the Philippines. Listed as an endangered species by the IUCN, it usually grows in the sides of cliffs and roads spilling into lowland forests.
II. Most Endangered Animals in the Philippines
The same with endangered plant species, the animals mentioned here are threatened because of habitat destruction, deforestation, and poaching.
- Pawikan or Hawksbill sea turtle (scientific name: Eretmochelys imbricata)
The pawikan, as it is locally called, is a global critically endangered species, as classified by IUCN. These herbivores are common in the tropical waters of the Philippines.
- Haribon or Philippine eagle (scientific name: Pithecophaga jefferyi)
Also called the monkey-eating eagle, it is one of the largest and most powerful bird species on the planet. It is the Philippines' national bird and is endemic in the southern part of the country. It is tagged as critically endangered by the IUCN.
- Tamaraw or Mindoro dwarf buffalo (scientific name: Bubalus mindorensis)
Indigenous to the island of Mindoro in the Philippines, these bovines are formerly widespread in the mountainous areas of the province. Due to habitat loss they were forced to migrate to the lowlands and are then kept in captivity. Now, they are critically endangered as tagged by the IUCN.
- Dugong or sea cow (scientific name: Dugong dugon)
The dugong is commonly found in the tropical waters of the Philippines, Indian Ocean, and Western Pacific Ocean. It is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN.
- Mindoro crocodile (scientific name: Crocodylus mindorensis)
Another animal indigenous in the island Mindoro in the Philippines, it is tagged as critically endangered by IUCN. It is also called the Philippine freshwater crocodile.
- Butanding or whale shark (scientific name: Rhincodon typus)
The whale shark is one of the world's endangered species and can be found in almost all tropical waters around the globe. In the Philippines it is called butanding and is listed vulnerable by the IUCN.
- Palawan horned frog (scientific name: Megophrys ligayae)
This type of frog is indigenous to the islands of Palawan and Balacbac in the Philippines. They are classified as endangered by the IUCN.
- Giant golden-crowned flying fox (scientific name: Acerodon jubatus)
Also known as the golden-capped fruit bat, this native bat from the Philippines is one of the world's largest. It is tagged as endangered by the IUCN.
- Pilandok or Philippine mouse deer (scientific name: Tragulus nigricans)
Classified by IUCN as endangered, these are also endemic to the islands of Palawan and Balacbac. They are usually the subject of local folklore, but are mostly hunted for their meat.
- Philippine spotted deer (scientific name: Rusa alfredi)
Also known as the Visayan spotted deer, this animal is indigenous to the islands of Panay and Negros in the Philippines. It is listed as endangered by the IUCN.