There’s more to the Philippines than Boracay and dirty politics. Here are some environmental trivia to remind us of the beauty of our natural resources, and why appreciation alone is not enough to preserve them.
- The Philippines is one of the world’s 18 “megadiversity” countries, harboring 70% of all life forms on the planet.
- According to Haribon, we rank first in the world on the number of endangered endemic species of mammals and birds on an acre-for-acre basis. Fifty-five of the 70 threatened bird species in the world are found only in our country.
- Taal Volcano is the world’s smallest active volcano and Taal Lake is the only habitat of the world’s only freshwater sardine sardinella tawilis.
- Out of the 584 Philippine wildlife, 72% are threatened with extinction like the Philippine Eagle, Tamaraws of Mindoro, Visayan Spotted Deer, Visayan Warty Pig, and Dinagat Cloud Rat.
- The Philippine Eagle is one of the rarest eagles in the world and the Visayan Spotted Deer and Tamaraw are two of the rarest mammals in the world.
- A tiny orange-colored rodent-like mammal not found anywhere else in the world was recently discovered in Mt. Banahaw.
- The Tubbataha Reefs in Sulu Sea is the only marine natural park in the country and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to over 600 species of fish, 359 species of corals, 12 species of sharks, 12 species of dolphins and whales, and over 100 species of birds.
- The world’s largest pearl was discovered by a Filipino diver in Palawan. Known as the “Pearl of Lao-Tzu,” the gem weighs 14 lbs. and measures 9.45 inches in diameter. It is believed to be 600 years old.
- The world’s largest flower Rafflesia was also discovered at the Sibalom National park in Antique. Locally named Uruy, the flower measures 22 inches in diameter and has no stems and leaves.
- Our coral reefs are among the richest in the world, with about 464 species of hard corals and more than 50 species of soft corals. But of the country’s 2.7 million hectares of coral reefs, less than 5% are in excellent condition today.
Earth Day may be over but the entire 2010 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Biodiversity to raise awareness on the need to safeguard the diversity of life forms on earth essential to sustaining our living systems. If we have reasons to celebrate the biodiversity of our natural resources here, we also have reasons to do what we can, in our own little ways, to help protect it.