The island of Samar still has some of the largest remaining
unfragmented tracts of lowland tropical rainforests in the Philppines. The
remaining forest cover is about 360.000 ha. From this forests, 120.000 ha
are still so called "old growth forest". 2400 species of flowers
are known from which 400 are endemic to the Philippines, another 400 are only
known in Samar. There are 12 species of trees and other plants, among them
orchids and ferns, which are internationally rated as threatend. The rainforest
is a Dipterocarp - forest in which endangered species like Lawaan, Yakal,
Mayapis and others grow.
In Eastern Samar, also some endangered animals are found, among
them are the Philippine Eagle (the second largest eagle in the world), the
Philippine Cockatoo, the Tarsier (usually only known in Bohol), and the Flying
Lemur. Aside from these species plentiful of flying foxes, bats, different
birds, (hornbills, peasants, kingfishers and others) reptiles, amphibians
and insects (including many beautiful species of butterflies) can be found.
There are 39 species of mammals and 197 species of birds, 16 of them are endangered.
In the following you will find an (not complete) overview of
different animals from Samar:
The Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta)
is the smallest primate in the world. Tarsiers have soft, furry bodies and
slender limbs and are brownish-gray. They have large, rounded heads with large
gogglelike eyes. With these eyes they are well adapted to their nocturnal
life-style. The hind limbs are especially modified for leaping. The fingers
and toes are extremely long and are equipped with fleshy disks that provide
traction. The animals are arboreal and forage for food, usually insects and
lizards, only at night.
The real name of the Flying Lemur is
Colugo (Cynocephalus volans). The
Colugo is a nocturnal mammal and not related to the Lemur and actually not
able to fly. The colugo is slender, long limbed, large clawed, and long tailed,
with a foxlike head and has soft, mottled fur.
A large, furred gliding membrane is attached to the neck and sides of the
body and extends along the limbs to the tips of the toes and tail. It allows
the animals parachute - style glides from tree to tree. The animal is almost
completely arboreal and is a slow, skillful climber. On the ground it is slow
moving and nearly helpless. During the day it hangs by its claws in secluded
branches or rests in hollow trees; it is most active at twilight and early
dawn. The colugo feeds on leaves, flowers, buds, and fruit.
The malay Civet - cat (Viverra tangalunga) is
the best known among the civets. Civets play an important role in spreading
seeds in the forest over long distances. They have a long body about the size
of a domestic cat, short legs, a tapered head with small ears, and a long,
bushy tail. Generally they are yellowish-tan or grayish, with patterns of
black spots or stripes or both. They are nocturnal hunters that prey on small
animals, but they may also eat carrion and vegetable matter.
The Long - tailed Macaques or Crab
- eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) is common all
over South - Easte - Asia. They have a grey to brown - reddish fur. They raech
40 - 50 cm, the tailis up to 50 - 60 cm. Male animals reach 4,8 - 7 kg , females
only 3 - 4 kg. They feed on fruits, crabs, flowers, insects, mushrooms and
gras, but the main diet are fruits.
The "Golden Crown Flying Fox"
(Acerodon jubatus) is the largest bat in the world, endemic to the
Philippines and belongs to the fruitbats. The animals sleep in high trees
and feed on figs and other fruits. The destruction of their natural habitat
is threatening their survival, they are on the list of endangered species.
Fruitbats play a vital role in the rainforest. The polination of many tree
species is done by fruit bats.They also spread seeds of plants over long distances.
The Philippine Nectar Bat (Eonycteris robusta)
is also endemic in the Philippines. Like the Golden Crown Flying Fox it also
belongs to the fruit bats.They feed on nectar and old, overripe fruits. Also
this species is highly endangered.
Aside from the asian or indian
Cobra also the Kingcobra occurs on
Samar. With 3,7 m the kingcobra is the largest, venomous snake in the world
(the record is 5,58 m) and mainly feeds on other snakes. The asian cobra seldom
reaches more than 1,8 m. To get bitten from a cobra is for humans always dangerous.
The Philippine Eagle or Monkey-eating
Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), the national bird of the Philippines,
is a large bird and one of the largest eagles in the world. The species is
highly endangered, there might be only about 100 animals remaining in the
wild. Their diet consists of monkeys, tarsiers and Flying lemurs.
The Brahmini Kite (Haliastur
Indus) is a common bird of prey. Head, neck and breast are white, the
rest of the body is chestnut - brown. The bird is a scavenger but also hunts
smaller animals like frogs, mice, reptiles and even insects. Brahmini Kites
prefer mangroves and rivermouths but can also be found in wetlands and cultivated
land. The bird is able to adapt easy.
The endemic and highly endangered Philippine
Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia) is a small parrot.
The animals live in large groups. Only in the mating season, couples stay
alone. Often the same trees are used for breeding. Phil. Cockatoos feed on
seeds, partly also on fruits, buts and flowers.
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