CAGDIANAO, Province of Dinagat Island (MindaNews / 26 Feb) — Mayor Adolfo Longos wants to preserve the skeletal remains of the huge sea creature that washed ashore at a beach here on Wednesday.
“The large whale washed ashore within our town so we have the right to preserve it as a new tourist attraction,” Longos said.
He said he would ensure proper documentation will be done to prevent the sad experience of town officials in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur who failed to bring back the remains of Lolong, the world’s largest crocodile in captivity.
Longos said it was the second mammal that was seen in his town as a similar dead big whale was seen off the coast of Cagdianao in 2002 but the giant mammal was not washed ashore.
According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the whale, whose species has yet to be determined, measured 6.3 meters long and two meters wide.
“During the onsite visitation, a white feather hair-like assemblage was first observed that covers the entire body of the lifeless sea creature. We identify it under Cetacea order that could possibly be a whale or porpoise due to the presence of a ‘blowhole’ homologous with the nostril of other mammals,” said Agapito Patubo, Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Dinagat Province.
But Bonifacio Jason, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, believes the large whale could belong to the Bryde whale or Hump back breed. A marine biologist from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources took some specimen samples for laboratory testing in their central office in Manila.
Sufenia Chua, aquaculture technologist of Cagdianao said a “tomb” is being constructed today for the carcass.
“At first we plan to bury it just beside its location but the mayor decided not to move it because it might disintegrate its body parts,” Chua told MindaNews.
Dozens of residents from the town and other neighboring areas have come here to see the carcass.
“Many residents came in droves wanting to personally see the decomposing remains of the whale and that disgusting smell,” Chua said.
June Maebelle Datuin, 16, Grade 11 student of Cagdianao National High School endured the two hours difficult walk along with her classmates.
“We failed to attend our classes because we want to see personally this mammoth sea creature,” she said.
According to several residents in the area, the large whale washed shored on the beach was seen by fishermen floating in the middle of the sea a couple of weeks ago until it beached in the area.
Several residents here said this area has lots of floating materials, mostly bottled plastic and rubber.
AA Yaptinchay, director of Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, a non-government organization advocating awareness for the conservation and protection of marine wildlife in the country said many sea creatures have been affected by marine environmental destruction and pollution.
“There are potentially more than 30 marine mammals in the Philippines. However, populations of dolphins, whales and the dugong have declined due to threats such as poaching, bycatch, pollution, and habitat destruction, among others,” MWWP said.
Yaptinchay added more and more threats are present in Philippine seas, affecting already dwindling populations of marine wildlife. It is expected that vulnerable species will be affected by threats such as trash, habitat degradation and increasing boat traffic. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)