Siargao Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape (SIPLAS)
By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 902 by then President Ramos, it is categorized and established as Siargao Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape (SIPLAS) on October 10, 1996. It covers 9 municipalities namely,
- Del Carmen,
- General Luna,
- San Benito,
- San Isidro,
- Sta. Monica, and
Out of the 10 Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) in the Caraga Region which has a total area of 835,648 hectares, SIPLAS comprises 33.4% of these even, and also it composes 21.7% of the total area of all Mindanao KBAs (3.843 million hectares). Acknowledged for the endemism of its terrestrial faunal diversity, SIPLAS is home to 21 mammal species of which 14 are endemic to the Philippines, 85 bird species of which 55 species (65%) are endemic to the country, and nine endemic species of frogs.
The coastal and marine biodiversity of SIPLAS, on the other hand, is evidenced by eight species of seagrasses which is half of all species found in the Philippines and Southeast Asian region, and 59 species of seaweeds representing 37% of the total number of benthic seaweeds recorded in the Philippines. The marine fauna is composed of some 106 species of fishes (recorded from a single reef), 38 genera of corals, and 137 species of mollusks.
Inhabiting the wetlands of SIPLAS are the following rare and endangered marine animals:
- sharks (Rhincodon typus);
- Dugongs (Dugong dugon);
- Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata);
- Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and
- Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).
As a biodiversity hotspot, it is home to approximately 8,600 hectares of mangrove area. Diverse species of birds including Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia) also inhabit the area. The flying lemur (Cynocephalus volans), and the endangered Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) can also be found here.
SIPLAS is one of the 117 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) identified for the country by Haribon Foundation and Birdlife International and is one of the 206 Conservation Priority Areas (CPAs) identified through the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation priority-setting Program.
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