“Butanding” now classified as an endangered species | The Summit Express

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“Butanding” now classified as an endangered species



MANILA, Philippines - The iconic marine animal locally known as “butanding” or whale shark has been classified as “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

“Butanding” now classified as an endangered species
The butanding has moved one step closer to extinction. PHOTO CREDIT: National Geographic
This classification means that the butanding, which was previously listed as vulnerable, has moved one step closer to extinction along with winghead sharks. Meanwhile, Bornean orang-utans are now just a step away from becoming extinct after being listed as critically endangered.

Jane Smart, Director of IUCN's Global Species Programme, said she is alarmed that the population of “emblematic” species are declining to become extinct.

"These new IUCN Red List assessments emphasize how urgent it is for the conservation community to act strategically to protect our planet’s incredible diversity of life. The world’s oceans and forests will only continue to provide us with food and other benefits if we preserve their capacity to do so.”

Over the last 75 years, the butanding, which is considered as the world’s largest fish have decreased to more than half as a result of increasing human pressures particularly large-scale fishing in areas such as southern China and Oman. Moreover, the butanding also get injured and killed by ship propellers.

In the Philippines, which is one of the countries often visited by these migratory species, interaction with the butanding through swimming boosts ecotourism in Oslob, Cebu and Donsol, Sorsogon. In fact, Time Magazine tagged the Donsol swimming experience with the butanding as the “Best Animal Encounter in Asia” in 2004.

In 1998, the Philippines became the first Southeast Asian nation to pass a national law protecting the butanding after former President Fidel V. Ramois signed the Fisheries Administrative Order No. 193, which bans “the taking or catching, selling, purchasing and possessing, transporting and exporting of whale sharks and manta rays.”

--Mini, The Summit Express