More than half Pinoy fauna nearly extinct

MANILA (AFP) — More than half the birds, amphibians and mammals found only in the Philippines are either threatened or nearly extinct, the environment and natural resources department said Monday.The tropical southeast Asian archipelago is the sole host to 1,137 animal species and 14,000 species of plants, the government agency said in a statement.

“Worldwide, we rank fifth in the number of plant species. We also rank fourth in bird endemism, which means that these birds are found only in the Philippines,” Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Joselito Atienza said.

However, the Philippines is also one of the top biodiversity hot spots, with 592 endemic species of amphibians, birds and mammals considered “threatened or endangered,” Atienza said.
In addition 227 endemic species of flowering plants are listed in the “Red List” of “critically endangered” species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The department’s own “Red List” of threatened, endangered or vulnerable fauna includes 215 species of birds, 96 mammals, and five reptiles.

The department did not give any list for the other threatened or near-extinct animals.

The most famous Philippine fauna in the IUCN Red List are a dwarf buffalo called the tamaraw, found only on the central island of Mindoro, and the Philippine eagle, one of the largest in the world and found only on Mindanao island.

Mindanao police said last week that they arrested a farmer who shot and ate a Philippine eagle that had been released from a raptor conservation project just four months earlier.

The giant bird, one of only 250 estimated to be still alive, had been shot and wounded in 2006 but was nursed back to health by eagle conservationists and released back into the wild earlier this year.

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