24 mammals tagged ‘threatened’ in Phl

TWO dozen mammals have been added to the Philippines’ official list of “threatened” species, former Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Pilipinas Ecowarriors convenor, disclosed over the weekend.

Zubiri identified the 24 species of threatened mammals, based on their common names, as: the Palawan fly fox, Isarog shrew mouse, Binturong, Dinagat hairy-tailed rat, Dinagat hairy-tailed cloud rat, Panay bushy-tailed cloud rat, Ilin hairy-tailed cloud rat, Bushy-tailed cloud rat; Flying lemur, Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat, Southern Luzon giant cloud rat, Dinagat gymnure, Wooly flying fox, Grey flying fox, Small flying fox, White-winged fruit bat, Little golden-mantled flying fox, Bearded pig, Visayan warty pig, Philippine warty pig, and the Calamian treeshrew.

Three other mammals that do not have common names yet – the Haplonycteris species A from Sibuyan Island, the Pteropus species A from Mindoro, and the Sus species A from Sulu – have likewise been tagged threatened.

“These mammals have been classified either as vulnerable or endangered,” said Zubiri, former chairman of the Senate environment and natural resources committee.

Philippine species are categorized as threatened once their habitats have suffered extreme depletion and their populations have shrunk to a level below which the species or subspecies will be completely wiped out.

Threatened species are further sub-categorized either as vulnerable or endangered, or critically endangered.

Vulnerable means the populations of the species are under threat from serious adverse factors throughout their range and are believed likely to move to the endangered category in the near future.

Endangered means the species are at great risk of extinction and survival is unlikely if casual factors continue to operate.

In compliance with existing international and national laws, the Philippines keeps a registry of wildlife species “of priority concern for protection and conservation.” It is updated regularly by the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau.

“The biggest danger to our wildlife is the unchecked destruction of their habitats, plus the unchecked illegal (wildlife) trade,” Zubiri said.

“We have to step up conservation efforts if we are to save our threatened species, and safeguard our biodiversity,” he added.

Zubiri’s Pilipinas Ecowarriors is a non-profit, registered non-governmental organization that keeps watch over potential violators of environmental protection and conservation laws, including wildlife smugglers.

The Philippines has agreed to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

One of the eight development goals is “to ensure environmental sustainability,” with the specific target to reverse the loss of environmental resources.

Among the indicators used to measure achievement of the goal is “reduced biodiversity loss, to include a decreasing number of species threatened with extinction.”

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