Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary

General Information

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

   other species.

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%.

Biological Features

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.

                                     WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Bunawan 2,690.38 3,572.82 147.68 388.07 6,798.95 16.60
La Paz 2,709.91 4,574.94 159.84 52.22 7,496.90 18.37
Loreto 3,514.22 24.47 174.71 269.63 3,983.04 9.76
Rosario 3,779.07 2,010.88 61.6 227.05 6,078.57 14.89
San Francisco 3,827.05 2,881.52 - - - 16.44
Talacogon 3,642.84 5,751.43 276.17 - - 23.88
TOTAL 20,163.47 18,816.06 820.00 1,013.30 40,954.00 100

Consuelo Poblacion Novele Caimpugan           
Causwagan Osmeña
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  
      Borbon Culi  
        La Flora  
Sabang Gibong
Buena Gracia

1. Bunawan, Agusan del Sur  
    A. Lake Mihaba bird watching, lake hopping, kayaking, fishing, site seeing
    B. Lake Kilobidan/
        Lake Ticgon
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