The latest IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was published recently and contains 128,918 species of which more than 35,500 species, comprising 28% of all assessed species, are threatened with extinction.
Thirty-one (31) species are now declared Extinct. Almost half of these are endemic to Lake Lanao, the largest lake in Mindanao and the second largest lake in the Philippines. Dr. Armi Torres, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Quantitative Aquatics, Inc. (Q-quatics), led the assessment of these endemic fishes in Lake Lanao in collaboration with the Mindanao State University – Marawi Campus and with support from the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP). Data from FishBase, published papers, technical reports, and theses; local knowledge through interviews with fishermen, fish vendors, and housewives; and fish landed catch surveys in 2016-2017 were used for this assessment report.
Out of the 17 endemic cyprinid fishes in Lake Lanao, 15 are now Extinct and 2 are Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct). Based on Dr. Torres’ dissertation, fish introduction is the major cause of the fish extinction in Lake Lanao, affecting almost 20,000 fisherfolks. The lake is now dominated by introduced species.
Dr. Torres urgently recommends a thorough survey of Lake Lanao to locate extant individuals of the two Critically Endangered species (Barbodes lindog and Barbodes sirang) in partnership with the 19 local government units bordering the lake. She added that a species recovery plan should include captive breeding and stock enhancement and/or assisted colonization programs; information, education, and communication campaign (IEC) to increase community awareness and participation; and eradication of the invasive alien species.