12 Philippine wildlife species saved from extinction in 2020

Philippine wildlife species
In photos: Negros Forest Frog, Yellow-headed Water Monitor Lizard, Mindanao Bleeding-heart, Luzon Water Redstart. Photos from Bronx Zoo, PBCI, DENR Zamboanga, Haring Ibon FB Alain Pascua

Twelve Philippine wildlife species have been saved from extinction as over 200 sites across the country were designated protected areas in 2020.

Despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the year 2020 was a productive year for the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as it continued with its efforts to conserve and sustainably manage the country’s rich biological diversity.

BMB Director Ricardo Calderon declared that “12 species are no longer on the edge of extinction” which was the result of the agency’s efforts to intensify its wildlife protection and enforcement.

According to Calderon, the respective conservation status of these species were downlisted from endangered to vulnerable and vulnerable to other threatened species (OTS).

“OTS, which is a classification under DENR Administrative Order 2019-09, refers to species or its varieties that is not critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable, but is under threat from adverse factors such as over collection throughout its range,” the DENR website reported.

In its year-ender report, DENR attributed the success to the BMB which made sure to keep the country’s flora and fauna well protected amid the COVID-19 lockdown when mobility was vastly limited.

“The effects of the community quarantine did not dampen the spirits of our people at BMB. They made sure that the agency’s mandates are still fulfilled in the fullest extent possible,” DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.

Here are the 12 Philippine wildlife species saved from extinction in 2020:

  1. Asian Giant Softshell Turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) was downlisted two levels from its previous status of endangered to OTS
  2. Negros forest frog (Platymantis negrosensis)
  3. Mount Data forest frog (Platymantis subterrestris)
  4. Mindanao bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba crinigera)
  5. Luzon water redstart (Rhyacornis bicolor)
  6. Mindanao fanged frog (Limnonectes magnus)
  7. Basilan island caecilian (Ichthyophis glandulosus)
  8. Todaya caecilian (Ichthyophis mindanaoensis)
  9. Yellow-headed water monitor (Varanus cumingi)
  10. Marbled water monitor (Varanus marmoratus)
  11. Large-scaled water monitor (Varanus nuchalis)
  12. Mount Isarog shrew-mouse (Archboldomys luzonensis)

Conservation efforts for wildlife in the Philippines have resumed despite the nationwide quarantine to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

Nineteen new whale sharks were sighted in Donsol, Sorsogon waters since the beginning of 2020, Apo Reef’s critically endangered sea turtles doubled in numbers amid the lockdown, and a new family of critically-endangered Philippine eagles has been recently sighted in the tropical forests of Lupon, Davao Oriental.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the Philippines’ conservationists who have managed to save a dozen wildlife species amid the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.

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Margo Hannah De Guzman Quadra
Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.