The Philippines is a tropical region containing some of the greatest biodiversity in the world within its rainforests. Sadly, much of the species-rich land is being destroyed and causing severe reduction in the population of some of the country's plants and animals. Many species are affected and have become rare as a result. Other species are rare for a wholly different reason--their rarity comes from the very limited conditions to which they have adapted.
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The Philippine eagle is the national bird of the Philippines. Excessive deforestation has severely reduced the sole habitat of the raptor: the rainforests of the Philippines. As a result, the bird has been placed on the endangered species list. Philippine eagles have few competitors for their prey, which includes small mammals, birds and reptiles. Despite the lack of consistent population counts, the Philippine Eagle Foundation estimates the population as of 2007 is approximately 700 eagles.
Although its rarity has made measurement of the eagle's lifespan in the wild difficult, those in captivity have lived as long as 41 years. Their life in the wild is presumably shorter, limited by food resources, disease, human interference and other natural and unnatural obstacles.
Another endangered species native to the Philippines is the Philippine crocodile. The species' highest recorded population size is estimated at about 10,000 crocodiles. This number was severely decreased to 100 in 1993. Unregulated hunting, despite the reptile's endangered species status, and continued habitat destruction have rapidly diminished the population size.
The Philippine crocodile is a dwarf species. While other crocodile species in South East Asia and Australia may reach five meters in length, the Philippine crocodile rarely exceeds two meters. It is a freshwater species, living primarily in lakes, rivers and marshes and feeding on fish, birds and reptiles.
The nepenthes attenboroughii pitcher plant is named for the British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, well known for his narration of the BBC documentary series "Planet Earth." It is one of the largest carnivorous pitcher plants in the world. The attenboroughii is large enough to consume small rodents in its fluid-filled pitcher. The rare plant is found only in the summit region of Mount Victoria on Palawan Island in the Philippines.
Rafflesia is a large flowering plant that is parasitic in nature. It is found on several South East Asian islands, including Panay Island in the Philippines. The plant features exceptionally large flower formations. The petals of species found in the Philippines may be as large as 21cm in diameter, nine cm tall and ½ cm thick.
The flower grows on the stems of its host plant: Vitaceae, a type of woody vine. Although it is usually found close to the ground, some rafflesia have been found growing as high as 15 meters on their host.
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