Each country has its own unique variety of animals native to its geographical location. The Philippines has some interesting species of animals, too. Sad to say, these animals are faced with the threat of eventual extinction, generally caused by illegal and non-environment-friendly human activities. Let me introduce you to some of the Philippines’ exotic animals:
The Calamian Deer
This deer is usually found only in the Calamianes–a group of islands in Northern Palawan — particularly in desiduous forests and clearings on the islands of Culion and Busuanga. It has a tawny brown-colored coat, with the males generally darkening with age. Compared to other species of the deer, the Calamian deer (Axis calamianesis) has relatively long legs, which are darker than the rest of the body. The male sports three-pronged antlers mounted on its forehead.
Though generally nocturnal, they emerge early in the morning from their resting places in the undergrowth to graze on the clearings and fields. Prized for their meat (as food) and antlers (collectible items), this species have been declared by the IUCN as endangered in 1996, having an estimated population of 900. Actions to save the Calamian deer have been initiated both locally and internationally. One is by breeding them in captivity in Calauit islands. As of 2002, there were 1,200 Calamian deer counted in this natural reserve alone.
The Philippine Sailfin Lizard
This is the largest member of family Agamidae of lizards native to many islands in the Philippines. They are usually found in woodland areas basking on trees, rocks and boulders never far from water edges. Large fins extending from along their bodies best characterize male sailfin lizards. Females are slightly shorter and the crest is absent. The Philippine Sailfin Lizard (Hydrosaurus pustulatus) is threatened throughout most of its remaining range by destruction of habitat and over-hunting for food and the live animal trade. The Biodiversity Conservation Centre of the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation initiated a significant move to protect these lizards in Bacolod City. With funding support from Adelaide and Melbourne Zoos of Australia, the foundation designed a special sailfin lizard enclosure that will serve as the species breeding habitat.
The Philippine Monitor Lizard
A particular subspecies, Varanus salvator mamoratus, is commonly found in the Philippines, particularly in and around Sibulan Watershed Reserve in Polilo Islands. Locally, it is called bayawak. Like the Philippine sailfin lizard, the Philippine monitor lizard is heavily hunted both for its meat and leather. The conversion of forest to agricultural land on a massive scale is also held responsible for the decline of this lizard’s population.
The Palawan Peacock Pheasant
This particular species of pheasant (Polyplectron emphanum) that is endemic to the Palawan Island in the Philippines is regarded as the most beautiful of the peafowl species. A long, metallic blue crest with white lines above and below the eye best characterizes the males, which are attractively colored to attract a mate. Palawan peafowl, locally called “andikan,” are shy but adapt well and breed in confinement. Unfortunately they are already endangered because of declining habitat and the continuing bird trading and hunting for food. An estimated decreasing population of 1,000 has been recorded at present.
image via Wikipedia
The Luzon Bleeding Heart Dove
Naturally found in Luzon, this species of dove (Gallicolumba luzonica) is distinct for its “bleeding” spot in the middle of its breast (that looks like it has been shot on its breast). Bleeding-hearts, locally called “puñalada,” are almost completely terrestrial, seldom going even into the low bushes. However, they do not build their nests on the ground. Just like all kinds of doves and pigeons they regurgitate crop milk to be fed to their chicks.
Image via Wikipedia