Pygmy sperm whale rescued in Zambo City dies

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/19 May) – The pygmy sperm whale, which washed up on the shore of Barangay Upper Calarian around 6 a.m. and freed to its natural habitat after receiving first aid, died several hours later.

Dr. Leo Tenorio, head of the research and training department of the Zamboanga City State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST), said Thursday the whale died around 5 p.m. Wednesday while it was being transported to the school.

Tenorio said they decided to take the whale to the ZSCMST campus purposely to place the mammal in a big aquarium and treat the wounds in its snout, tail and fin after it returned to the shore of Upper Calarian hours after it was released back to the waters.

The whale was apparently attacked with a spear by some unscrupulous fishermen based on the appearance of its wounds, Tenorio said.

The wounded whale, which weighed some 200 kilos, was seen thrashing about in the waves by a bantay dagat member of Upper Calarian, five kilometers west of this city, around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

The sea mammal finally washed up on Arcillas Beach, Upper Calarian, three hours later prompting the bantay dagat member to report the find to the City Agriculture Office and Office of the City Veterinarian.

City Veterinarian Dr. Mario Arriola accompanied by personnel from the City Agri-Fishery and Animal Health Division rushed to Arcillas Beach and applied first aid treatment and injected vitamins into the wounded whale.

Mayor Celso Lobregat, who also rushed to Arcillas Beach, led the whale’s release around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday into the sea based on recommendations from Arriola and his personnel who declared the wounds to be superficial.

Hours after its release, the whale washed up anew on the shores of the Ebenezer Bible College also in Upper Calarian.

This prompted Tenorio and the personnel from the city veterinarian and city agriculturist to take the whale to the ZSCMST for treatment and observation.

Unfortunately, the whale died while they were still on the way to the ZCSCMST, according to Tenorio.

The pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) is one of three species of toothed whales belonging to the sperm whale family, according to the Wikipedia.

“They are not often sighted at sea, and most of what is known about them comes from the examination of stranded specimens,” the Wikipedia stated.

The pygmy sperm whale is amongst the smallest of all whales and is not much larger than many dolphins.

They are about 1.2 meters (3.7 feet) long at birth, growing to about 3.5 meters (10.4 feet) at maturity and the adults weigh about 400 kilograms. (MindaNews)