, April 22, 2024

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Tubbataha: the Philippine Gem of Biodiversity

  •   1 min read
Tubbataha: the Philippine Gem of Biodiversity

By Marne Kilates

“Close your eyes and imagine this. You are looking into an unfathomable endless blue sea.”

So starts the narration for the video. “It calls to you,” the female voice says, “and you are irresistibly drawn to what lies beneath the surface.”

Whether you’ve been there or not, the video itself has this magnetic appeal. Divers and sea lovers, conservationists and tourist adventurers know this.

Tubattaha Reef, or the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, according to Wikipedia, is a protected area of the Philippines located in the middle of the Sulu Sea.

“The marine and bird sanctuary consists of two huge atolls (named the North Atoll and South Atoll) and the smaller Jessie Beazley Reef covering a total area of 97,030 hectares (239,800 acres; 374.6 sq mi).”

Located 150 kilometres (93 mi) southeast of Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan, “the uninhabited islands and reefs are part of the island municipality of Cagayancillo, located roughly 130 kilometers (81 mi) to the northeast of the reef.”

Natives are understandably proud and protective the Reef. They help in its maintenance and are members of the protective sea patrol.

In December 1993, the UNESCO declared the Tubbataha Reefs National Park as a World Heritage Site, mainly because it is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species.

Like the rest of the Philippine archipelago, the national park is part of the Southeast Asian Coral Triangle, together with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua, New Guinea.

It recognized as a center of marine biodiversity containing 75% of the described coral species and 40% of the world's reef fish. The area is under a grave threat due to overfishing and destructive fishing practices.

That’s why this video is hoped to awake in the viewer at the very least an awareness of the importance of the Reef to a variety of environmental issues and global biodiversity.

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