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DENR execs order probe of discovery of dead sperm whale in Sarangani

Climate Change/Environment • 09:15 AM Sat Nov 30, 2019
DENR-12 news release
"A dead male sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) recently spotted by local fisherfolks along a shoreline in Gumasa town, Sarangani Province." (MMMaulana) | Photo Credits: Glan MENRO Engr. Arvel Lara, BFAR-12 and SBPS-PAMO

Dead Sperm Whale found in Sarangani Bay  

GLAN, SARANGANI PROVINCE - Environment officials have ordered an investigation into the discovery of a dead male Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) by fishermen along Gumasa town in SArangani.

Fishermen in the area said that they have already noticed the floating dead whale before it was stranded in the Crystal Beach Resort in Barangay Gumasa on Sunday, November 24.

During the initial observation of the carcass, the personnel of Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) of Glan and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 12 noticed the foul odor of the dead whale indicating advanced decomposition.

The BFAR-12 estimated that the animal was already dead five (5) days before it was spotted.

As measured by the BFAR-12, the whale had a length of 11.8 meters and an estimated weight of five (5) to seven (7) tons.

The authorities also noticed the numerous cookie-cutter shark bites in the animal.

Marine Biologist Darell Dean Blatchley, Curator of D' Bone Collector Museum, in cooperation with BFAR-12 conducted the necropsy in the marine mammal despite its decomposed condition around midnight of November 25. 


 Based on their findings, the contents of whale's stomach were predominantly remnants of squid beaks and a plastic cup.

Ecosystems Management Specialist Hesed Jebss Carisma of CENRO Glan said that these beaks are normal part of the sperm whales’ diet as they are known to dive at great depths to hunt for squids.

The team was not able to determine the whale's possible cause of death since they didn't continue the necropsy due to the strong stench of the carcass.

Carisma stated that the marine mammal's cause of death may be a combination of several factors.

Blatchley said that despite the animal's sheer size, the specimen was most likely a juvenile and not a fully-grown adult.

SBPS Protected Area Superintendent Joy C. Ologuin said that the management of the Rosal and White Haven Beach Resorts in Barangay Gumasa accommodated and allowed the burial of the carcass in their area.

The remains of the sperm whale was buried in a secluded area away from the shoreline of the said beach resorts.

The quick response and burial of the animal became successful due to the help of the officials and personnel of the local government units of Glan and Barangay Gumasa, BFAR-12, CENRO Glan, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Sarangani Province Environment and Natural Resources Office, Sarangani Environmental Conservation and Protection Center and SBPS-PAMO.

In the recent meetings of the SBPS Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), DENR-12 Regional Executive Director and PAMB Chair Dr. Sabdullah C. Abubacar, CESO IV emphasized that all stakeholders must work together to conserve and protect the Sarangani Bay.

Dr. Abubacar together with PAMB-SBPS Vice-Chair Sarangani Governor Steve C. Solon also stressed that the in and out movements and activities in the Sarangani Bay shall be fixed and monitored to save and protect the marine mammals and other species living within the bay. (With report from SBPS-PAMO: MMMaulana)

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