5 Must-Visit Wildlife Sanctuaries in the Philippines


The lush landscapes of the Philippines make the country one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. However, habitat loss and deforestation have also made it home to numerous endangered species. Fortunately, several wildlife sanctuaries in the Philippines strive to protect and conserve these animals. If you want to support their conservation efforts, you must visit the top five wildlife sanctuaries below.

Top Philippine Wildlife Sanctuaries

Wildlife sanctuaries are vital for keeping the country’s unique and diverse wildlife alive. To help you gain appreciation and understanding of their conservation efforts, here are five facilities you must consider visiting:

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center

Formerly named the Crocodile Farming Institute, the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center is known as the home of the Philippine crocodile. Established in 1987, its primary goal is to conserve endangered species and provide education and research facilities. The center is often a popular tourist destination in Puerto Princesa tours, so you can look forward to this stop if you plan on joining one soon!

At the start of the tour, you’re greeted with an exhibit of preserved crocodile skin and skeleton, where you’ll get to see how huge crocodiles can get. You’ll then move on to the facility’s Hatchling House, where you’ll see tubs of young crocodiles. 

In addition to the crocodiles, the mini zoo has other animals, such as the Palawan bearcat, deer, and various bird and reptile species. Souvenir shops are also available, where you can get a small keepsake to remember your time at the habitat. You can bring your camera if you like since several zoo areas are perfect for taking snapshots.

See also: The Ultimate Palawan Travel Guide

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is one of the most fascinating wildlife sanctuaries in the Philippines. Located in the Sulu Sea, you can find around 1,200 marine species, including corals, sharks, fish, manta rays, and sea turtles. As a result, it’s also a world-renowned scuba diving spot.

However, it’s also home to 181 endangered species, including the Christmas Island frigatebird and green sea turtles. The park helps keep its reef ecosystem healthy with its strict no-take rules. If you want to experience scuba diving at the reef, you can only access it through a liveaboard trip. So, book your trip early since they get full fast! Most depart from Puerto Princesa and can take about 10 hours to sail to diving spots.

See also: Explore Must-See Unesco World Heritage Sites In The Philippines

Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary

Situated 20 minutes away from Mactan, Cebu, Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for  97 bird species, including the Chinese Egret, Terek Sandpiper, and Asian Dowitcher. The island is also a resting spot for 48 migratory bird species traveling the East Asian-Australasian Flyway during winter. Thus, Former President Corazon Aquino declared the island a protected area on May 14, 1992.

At the Sanctuary, you can swim, birdwatch, and camp. The best time to birdwatch on the island is between September and May, ideally two hours before the high tide. To explore the island’s marine ecosystem, you can also find three dive sites: Baring, Mabini Point, and Sta. Rosa.

Philippine Eagle Center

The Philippine Eagle Center is one of the most notable wildlife sanctuaries in the Philippines. It conserves the critically endangered Philippine Eagles. The facility currently houses 36 eagles, 18 of which are captive-bred. In addition to them, the center also cares for other bird species, mammals, and reptiles.

Situated in Malagos, Davao, the center’s exhibits primarily aim to raise awareness and educate people about Philippine eagles and their habitat. The great thing about the center is it simulates the country’s forest ecosystem, so the eagles know how to navigate the wild once they’re released. Aside from checking out the animals, the Philippine Eagle Center also offers educational programs like Falconry, where the center’s keepers will allow the birds to show off their flight skills in front of the audience. They also offer keeper talks at specific times, where the caretaker will impart interesting facts on the eagle’s biology, characteristics, and life cycle. 

Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary

Due to its popularity, the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary is a top tourist destination when travelers go through Bohol. The facility conserves one of the world’s smallest primates, the tarsiers. These pocket-sized creatures may mostly be sleeping when you visit the sanctuary, but they’re nocturnal, jump as far as 10 feet, and turn their heads 180 degrees.

Although the facility currently houses hundreds of tarsiers, the exhibit only shows eight. Since tarsiers easily get stressed, it’s highly encouraged to keep your voices down when viewing the animals. You can take photos of the tarsiers, but remember to turn the flash off so you won’t startle them. At the end of the tour, you can also find a gift shop to buy keychains, magnets, and other gift items as keepsakes.   

See also: Amazing Bohol Island, Philippines

Closing Thoughts

Wildlife sanctuaries in the Philippines are important in safeguarding the country’s biodiversity. Visiting these sanctuaries not only allows you a glimpse of the county’s natural wonders but also hopefully inspires you to partake in their conservation efforts. You can make your trip more meaningful by visiting the top five sanctuaries on our list!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about wildlife sanctuaries in the Philippines:

Who protects wildlife in the Philippines?

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), deals with the preservation, conservation, and protection of wildlife in the Philippines.

Are there animal sanctuaries in the Philippines?

Yes, there are several animal sanctuaries in the Philippines, including the Philippine Eagle Center, Tarsier Conservation Area, and Pawikan Conservation Center. They’re dedicated to protecting, rehabilitating, and conserving the country’s endangered and endemic species.

How many wildlife species are endangered in the Philippines?

The Philippines currently has around 700 endangered wildlife species due to habitat loss, deforestation, and illegal wildlife trade. That’s why the conservation efforts and initiatives of wildlife sanctuaries are important for preserving these species.

Related: Top 5 Things to Do in Nalusuan Island & Marine Sanctuary

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