Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary
Agusan March Wildlife Sanctuary was established by the virtue of Presidential
Proclamation No. 913 on October 31, 1996. It has been designated as one of
the Ramsar sites in the Philippines and included in the list of Wetlands of
International Importance (RAMSAR TREATY) No. 1009 dated November 12, 1999,
being the refuge and nesting area of migratory bird species.
The marsh is situated in the Agusan del Sur Province, Northeastern Mindanao
and covers an area of 40,954 hectares. It is composed of of six (6) municipalities
and thirty-eight (38) barangays. On the Western side, Agusan Marsh can be
reached through a road running west from national highway to Talacogon, Agusan
del Sur. Access to interior of Talacogon and La Paz can be reached through the
Agusan River and its tributaries, the Gibong and Adgawan rivers.
Bunawan is the usual jump-off area bound to the marsh located on the South-
eastern side and can be reached by bus from Davao or Butuan City in three (3)
hours, two (2) hours by pump boat from Bunawan via Simulao River. The Agusan
River which runs from South to North in the middle of Agusan Marsh can be
reached in about two (2) hours by pump boat from Bunawan via Simulao River.
● Agusan Marsh as the catch basin of Agusan-Davao Plain in Eastern Mindanao.
● It plays as a vital role in the socio-economic development of the provinces of
Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.
● It is an ecologically significant wetland ecosystem in the Philippines.
● The marsh harbors unique and pristine habitats like Sago and Peat Swamp
forests that provide habitat to the rare and endangered soft-shelled fresh
water turtle (Trionyx spp.), fresh water crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis),
oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster), purple heron (Ardea purpurea) and
● It serves as the wintering ground of birds migrating from Japan, China, Russia
and other Western countries during winter season.
There are 112 species of trees found in the marsh (Prof. Arreza and Team),
including 3 spp. of bamboo, vines, lianas and epiphytes, grasses, ground ferns,
and other herbaceous plants in the different habitat types of Agusan Marsh.
Other plant species are expected to be discovered from future systematic
and extensive surveys of Agusan Marsh.
A total of 127 birds which belong to 47 families were identified by the latest
survey of the Haribon Foundation, February, 1999 six globally important species
for conservation (based on bird watch 2,1994 and endemic bird areas of the world,
1998) are recorded in Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary. The most threatened in the
record is Silvery Kingfisher (Alcedo argentatus). Listed as endangered five other as
threatened spp. includes the Darter, (Anhinga melanogaster), Philippine Duck (Anas
luzonica), Mindanao Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides affinis) Black-Headed Tailorbird
(Orthotumus nigriceps) and the Naked-Faced Spider-Hunter (Arachnoter clarae)
Fourteen (14) freshwater fish species belonging to nine (9) families were identified
in Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary. A total of sixty (60) species of herpetofauna
recorded, these includetwenty-one (21) species of amphibians and thirty-nine
(39) species of reptiles, one (1) fresh water turtle, one (1) soft-shelled turtle,
two (2) crocodile, twenty-three (23) lizards, and twelve (12) snakes.
Four globally important species for conservation (based on the 1996 IUCN Red List
of the Threatened Species) are recorded on the marsh. These are the Phillippine
Crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis), listed as Critically endangered category. The
Estauarin Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), listed as lower risk: least concern
category. The Malaysian Fresh-Water Turtle (Coura amboinensis), listed as near
threatened and the Philippine Salifin Lizard (Hydrosaurus pustulatus). Listed in data
as deficient category. An endemic species in Agusan Marsh, "Danta" a freshwater
soft shelled turtle (Trionyx spp.) recorded in Agusan River is according to
Manobo, locally threatened.
The current known mammalian species in the area is composed of fourteen (14)
mammalian species. These made up of five (5) fruit bat spp., two (2) micro bats or
insectivorous bats, a long tailed macaque, a squirrel, three (3) rats and two civets.
Five (5) of the 14 species are Philippine endemic or native species including two fruit
bats, and insectovirous bat, a squirrel and a rat. One of the endemic species, the golden-
crowned flying fox (Acerdon Jubatus) is globally classified as ENDANGERED by the
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Vertebrate and key
Invertebrate Survey team (1991) identified sixty-five (65) species of butteflies. Of
the total, three (3) species are relatively rare, namely Papilio antonio, Graphium
cordus and Graphium idaeoides
Meteorology and Climate
● Agusan marsh is in a region with type IV Climate. The Climate type is
characterized by rainfall, w/c is evenly distributed throughout the year and a dry
season which is not well defined.
● The area is not prone to typhoons.
● Average annual rainfall in the areas is 4,286 mm; average annual temperature is
25.6ºC, and the average annual relative humidity is 86%.
The seven (7) major wetland habitat types of Agusan marsh to wit:
● Flowing Water (oxbow lakes, flodd plain lakes and ponds)
● Flowing Water - those with unidirectional flow, such as, the Simulao, Adgaoan
and Umayan rivers and some minor tributaries and those creeks connecting the
floodplain lakes which flow into the lakes when the Agusan River rises in July and
August and then flow out the lakes into the river on the period, March-May.
● Herbaceous - open and very extensive in the marsh, this habitat type is composed
mainly of sedges, grasses and ferns. One of this habitat type in the Agusan Marsh
is not found elsewhere excpet in Liguasan Marsh.
● Scrub Swamp - this is herbaceous mixed of small groves of low growing stunted
trees of Barringtonia and Nauclea. Certain birds use this habitat for cover and
● Swamp Forest - several subtypes are identified based on species composition. To
(a) Terminalia Forest
(b) Peat Swamp Forest
Agusan Marsh is considered as the largest and the last stronghold in the Philippines
for this unique habitat.
● River Bank - this habitat type is composed of slightly different vegetation type
than the lower areas and suffer the least inundation due to raised banks along the
rivers and creeks.
● Inundated Forest - this habitat type is thought to be relatively rare in the
Philippines. In Agusan Marsh, it can be no longer be identified on the ground but may
still be found along the western periphery of the marsh.
| PIE CHART OF THE AREA COVERED BY THE AGUSAN MARSH
|AREA COVERAGE BY MUNICIPALITY|
|MUNICIPALITY||A & D||TIMBERLAND||RIVER||LAKE||AREA (Hectares)||Percent (%)|
|BARANGAYS WITHIN AGUSAN MARSH WILDLIFE SANCTUARY|
|San Marcos||Violanta||Tagbayagan||New Visayas||San Agustin||Sabang Adgawan|
|Mambalili||magaud||Wasian||Ebro||San Isidro||Villa Paz|
|Nueva Era||Katipunan||Bayugan III||Ladgadan||San Nicolas||Poblacion|
|Poblacion||Nueva Gracia||Buena Suerte||Zillovia|
|POTENTIAL ECOTOURISM DESTINATION INSIDE THE AMWS|
|1. Bunawan, Agusan del Sur|
|A. Lake Mihaba||bird watching, lake hopping, kayaking, fishing, site seeing|
| B. Lake Kilobidan/
|bird watching, lake hopping, kayaking, fishing, site seeing|
|2. Loreto, Agusan del Sur|
|A. Fruit bats roosting area||bat watching, trekking|
|B. Lake Dinagat||bird watching, lake hopping, kayaking, fishing, site seeing|
|B.1 Lake Bukogon||bird watching, lake hopping, kayaking, fishing, site seeing|
|B.2 Lake Kanimbaylan||bird watching, lake hopping, kayaking, fishing, site seeing|
|B.3 Lake Kobasayon||bird watching, lake hopping, kayaking, fishing, site seeing|
|B.4 Lake Dinagat||bird watching, lake hopping, kayaking, fishing, site seeing|
|3. La Paz, Agusan del Sur|
|Lake Mambagongon||bird watching, lake hopping, kayaking, fishing, site seeing|
|4. San Francisco and
Talacogon, Agusan del Sur
|Caimpugan, Peatdome||Picknicking, camping, bird watching|