The Philippines is home to a wide variety of the planet’s marine life.
Conservation International, a nonprofit environmentalist group founded in 1987, recognizes the Philippines as one of only 17 mega-diverse countries in the world. Mega-diverse countries are nations that shelter the bulk of Earth’s animal and plant life.
Many species in the Philippines are being threatened: meaning they are either vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, according to the IUCN red list criteria.
The following is a list of rare and or endangered sea creatures found in the waters surrounding the Philippine islands.
Out of 7 sea turtles in the world, five of it can be found in the Philippines – the critically endangered hawksbill, the endangered green turtle, and olive ridley, loggerhead, and leatherback as vulnerable. Unlike its freshwater cousins, sea turtles cannot retract their head, legs, and arms into their shell for protection but this body structure makes swimming easy. And because they have lungs and breathe air, they need to surface for air at regular intervals. Places to visit for turtles sighting include Apo Island, Apo Reef, Helicopter Island (El Nido), Pescador Island (Cebu), Balicasag Island, and Mantigue Island (Camiguin).
Giant clams, particularly the genus Tridacna gigas is one of the most endangered clam species found in the country. These clams can weigh over 200 kilograms and can measure as much as 47 inches. They have become endangered because of the high demand not just in Southeast Asia but also in France and several Pacific Islands where they are considered as delicacy. Giant clams are called taklobo in the Philippines
Fin whale is the second largest species in the world with the largest measuring up to 27 meters. They are fast and strong swimmers with the average speed between 37 km/h to 41 km/h. Though they can live close to 100 years, they have become endangered due to excessive whaling in the 19th and 20th century.