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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wildlife Getaways in the Philippines by Allan Leandro Merin

The Philippines is certainly an envy of other countries because of its rich natural resources. Comprising some 7,107 islands, the archipelago has one of the world's highest biodiversities. Various plant and animal species that are endemic to the country have been attracting wildlife experts and nature lovers to the Philippines.

Local environment department officials said the Philippines is home to some 1,137 species of amphibians, birds, and mammals. However, around half of them are now considered "threatened" due to man-made perturbations. Forest denudation, illegal hunting, poaching, and urbanization have been destroying wildlife habitat. This has been a cause for concern of environment preservation groups over the past years.

To raise awareness on environment protection, related government agencies and public groups are organizing guided tours to showcase the country's wildlife. Here is a guide to some of the wildlife parks and nature centers in the Philippines.

Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the leading tourist attractions in the island paradise of Palawan is the Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary. This 3,700-hectare sanctuary, which opened in 1976, is home to various animal species such as giraffe, zebra, bushbuck, gazelle, elands, deer, and other exotic local and African animals. There are also more than 70 bird species living at the Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary.

Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the island province of Bohol, the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary is also a must-go destination for travelers looking to explore the Philippine wildlife. This 134-hectare shelter serves as a breeding and protection center for the Philippine tarsier, one of the world's smallest primates. Around 500 tarsiers are currently housed inside the sanctuary, where exotic birds such a serpent eagles, parrots, grass owls can be found.

Albay Park and Wildlife
Aside from Mayon Volcano, Albay is also making a name on wildlife conservation. Set in Legazpi, Albay Park and Wildlife hosts more than 400 animals such as mammals, birds, and reptiles. Visitors can get up close and personal with a number of raptor species such as grass owl, Philippine eagle owl, and Brahminy kite. The park also allows guests to relax with its amenities such as a food court and picnic groves.

Zoobic Safari
Enjoy an ultimate safari adventure in the Philippines by visiting a 25-hectare amusement park in Subic, Zambales. Zoobic Safari offers a number of attractions such as Tiger Safari, where some 400-pound tigers are roaming around. Snakes from around the world, meanwhile, are featured at the Serpentarium. Visitors can also set their feet on steel walkway where over 200 crocodiles are resting below.

Exploring Philippine wildlife doesn't end from the above-mentioned parks and sanctuaries. You can also spend a day in Donsol, Sorsogon, for some whale shark viewing, or visit Olango Island, which serves as a stopover of more than 50,000 migrating birds. There many other wildlife getaway destinations to choose from whether you are in Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao.

Local Philippines is your travel buddy. We have information about the destinations, how to get there, what to do while in the area and more! Destinations in the beaches or in the mountains, destinations under water, destinations right at the middle of the urban hub, name it and Local Philippines will most likely feature it.

Allan Leandro Merin has been writing for a living since 2008. After leaving a career at a daily electronic crew newspaper, he joined a web development outsourcing company and linked up with Local Philippines, the most comprehensive online directory of Philippine destinations, events, and attractions.

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