As the world's second largest archipelago with more than 7,100 islands, scientists dub the Philippines one of the world's biologically richest countries. But with the continued exploitation of its natural resources, the country is also a "biodiversity hotspot," or "the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on Earth.
Endemic species, or species unique to the Philippines, abound---mainly because of the country's isolated islands, tropical location and extensive areas of rainforest. The country is home to the most distinct creatures on Earth, such as the flying lemur, the world's smallest and largest bats (Philippine bamboo bat and giant flying fox), the world's smallest hoofed mammal (Philippine mouse deer) , the world's largest fish ("butanding" or whale shark) and one of the world's largest eagles (the Philippine eagle or monkey-eating eagle). Most of the country's endemic species are now endangered.
Endangered species is any animal or plant species whose survival is threatened to the point of extinction. Once extinct, these species can no longer be found on earth---permanently.
According to studies carried out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (based in the United Kingdom), there are at least 566 endangered species in the Philippines - 84 of which are listed as "critically endangered". Less than ten countries in the entire world have a situation that is more critical than the Philippines - and most of those countries are significantly bigger (in terms of land mass). Some of the endemic critically endangered species include the tamaraw and the Visayan warty pig.
The Panay giant fruit bat was declared extinct in 1996, and the Cebu warty pig in 2000.
The Philippine government has to act now, or face hotspot extinction. Unfortunately, illegal logging is still widespread, and only 11 percent of the total land area of the country is... [continues]
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