Wednesday,July 10, 2019

Migratory Species

Migratory species are animals that “cyclically and predictably” cross one or more national jurisdictional boudaries. Animal migration can be found in all major animal groups including birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects and crustaceans.

Reasons why animals migrate

1. Response to seasons

2. Availability of food, and

3. to reproduce

Migratory species are part of Philippine biodiversity. Their significance is recognized in ecology, tourism and local economy. From September of every year to February of the succeeding year, migratory animals from different parts of the world come to the Philippines to escape the winter in the northern and southern hemisphere. 

Influx of migratory birds in the Philippines starts by September of each year where they stop briefly along wetlands to rest and hunt for food before continuing their journey (Southward Migration). They return to their breeding grounds by March of the succeeding year (Northward Migration).

As a member of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) since 2006, the country host hundreds of migratory birds  from around the world. Thousands of migratory aquatic species such as sharks, whales, dolphins, turtles, eels and sea cows visit the country’s coastal areas for survival.

The Philippines through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is taking the lead thru programs and partnerships to ensure the protection of these migratory species. In fact it succesfully hosted the Twelfth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of  Wild Animals (CMS COP12) last October 23-28, 2017- the first time the conference was held in Asia. 

Currently Philippines have 4 Flyway Network Sites, designated under the specifications of the EAAFP. The abundant coastal habitat is valuable for the transit of shorebirds and waders during migration. Offshore habitats, such as the Tubbataha Reefs, provide nesting sites for migratory seabird populations in the flyway. 

View map of EAAFN sites
EAAF Site Code Name of Philippine EAAF Site
EAAF007 Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
EAAF062 Naujan Lake National Park
EAAF123 Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
EAAF135 Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area

source: Philippine Flyway Network Sites and

source and reference: Philippines as a Migratory Flyway

Crossing several seas and countries leave these birds exhausted from their journey when they reach the Philippine territory. As such, it is important that we provide them a decent welcome by ensuring that our wetlands and forests are healthy and thriving. A chain of protected wetlands dot the country from North to South supporting the Philippine leg of their journey:

  • Buguey Wetlands (Cagayan province)
  • Candaba Swamp (Pampanga)
  • Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area or LPPCHEA (Manila Bay)
  • Naujan Lake (Mindoro)
  • Olango Island (Cebu)
  • Agusan Marsh (Agusan del Sur)

source: Haribon Foundation

Threats to Migratory Species:

  1. Climate Change
  2. Pollution
  3. Collission with man-made structures
  4. destruction of habitats
  5. hunting
  6. by-catch

******* Source and Further Reading*******