ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/19 Sept) – Combined personnel from the Philippine Coastguard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) have found a dead pregnant great sperm whale floating offshore east of this city.
Lieutenant Commander (LCdr.) Elizer Dalnay, Zamboanga Coast Guard Station (ZCGS) commander, said the sperm whale was spotted around 6:12 a.m. today (Wednesday) at 1.5 nautical miles north of Sacol Island. The island is located east of this city.
Dalnay said the PCG and BFAR personnel were travelling from Basilan to Zamboanga City aboard a marine surveillance ship at that time when they spotted the great sperm whale.
The dead whale was measured to be 52 feet long and estimated to weigh around 30 tons.
Dr. Mario Ariola, the city veterinarian, disclosed that the dead whale was pregnant, but he could not estimate how long it had been pregnant.
The sperm whale was towed to the port here and later a mechanical crane was used to load the dead sea mammal to an 18-wheeler trailer truck.
The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is a marine mammal species, order Cetacea, a toothed whale (odontocete) having the largest brain of any animal, according to Wikipedia. The name comes from the milky-white waxy substance, spermaceti, found in the animal’s head.
Ramil dela Cruz, of the BFAR Marine Mammals Stranding Response Team, said the whale could be dead for the past two days. The whale, he said, could have died of natural sickness, but noted that there were some holes and scratches on the whale’s carcass.
PCG, BFAR and local government officials decided to burry the whale at the fish cemetery of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) late this afternoon. (MindaNews)