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Wildlife in the Philippines

There are not many mammals found in the Philippines.  The carabao, which is a domesticated water buffalo, along with pigs (both wild and domesticated), the mongoose, several deer species and numerous humped cattle are the most important animal species in the Philippines.  There are many reptiles as well as about 760 bird species on the islands, one of which is the parrot.  

The Philippines is noted for it's abundant marine fauna, in particular the mollusks.  The famous Sulu pearls with their deep luster come from pearl oysters around the Sulu Archipelago in the extreme southwest.

Almost one fourth of the Philippines is covered with forests.  The trees range from those with rubber, various palm trees, banyan along with indigenous trees such as mayapis, apitong, lauan and camagon, to name a few.  

A valuable indigenous plant is the Manila hemp, or abaca.  It is a plantain who's fiber is used to make a variety of items such as textiles, hats and cordage.  There are over 900 species of orchids in the Philippines that represent 100 genera that have been found. Other plants found on the islands include cinnamon, pepper plants, and clove. 

Unfortunately, the Philippines has some endangered species.  The Philippine eagle, mouse deer and tarsier, dugong (also known as a sea cow or sea pig), marine turtles, the Subic fruit bats, and the cockatoo are among those in danger of extinction.  

Part of the reason for possible extinction of many species is the mass destruction of lowland forest habitats.  The harvesting of trees for trade or progress, has diminished the forests of the Philippines at an alarming rate.  Another reason is that some animals are caught for trade (such as the cockatoo) and others are killed for being a nuisance (bats).  

In one area of the Philippines, an intensive effort is underway to save the marine turtle from extinction.  This is being accomplished by limiting the number of turtle eggs excavated for profit and devoting one island to preservation of the turtles.  

As with the sea turtles, of which only a few will ever make it to the age of reproduction, it is difficult for the dudong to reproduce.  When the females get pregnant, they carry their calf for thirteen months before giving birth. Unlike a sea turtle, which may lay up to 100 eggs in a pit, the dudong does not have multiple offspring at birth.  In addition, when the dudong gives birth, the process cannot be repeated for 3 to 5 years, making reproduction of this species a very slow process.

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