Short-finned pilot whales sighted anew in parts of Sarangani Bay

Joy Ologuin, Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape superintendent, at her office in Alabel, Sarangani. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 15 March) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 12 has recorded fresh sightings of pilot whales in portions of the Sarangani Bay, confirming reports of more thriving habitat of the marine mammal in the area.

Joy Ologuin, area superintendent of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS), said Monday the short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) were spotted in the seas off the municipalities of Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum in Sarangani.

She said at least 30 whales were specifically found by a joint team that conducted a series of monitoring in various sites from March 8 to 12.

The monitoring team was composed of marine biologists and divers from the SBPS-Protected Area Management Office, DENR-12’s Conservation and Development Division and General Santos City Environment and Natural Resources Office.

“The whales were frequently sighted in the bay hunting for food and nursing their calves,” Oloquin said in a statement.

The official said the marine mammal monitoring and biodiversity assessment covered nine identified “strict protection zones (SPZ)” and marine sanctuaries in the coastal waters of Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum towns.

These are the Kamanga Marine Sanctuary and the Colon and Malbang SPZs in Maasim; Tuka Marine Park and the Tambilil, Lagundi and Lomuyon SPZs in Kiamba; and, the Pinol and Mabay SPZs in Maitum.

Oloquin said they have stepped up their monitoring activities in the SBPS to ensure the protection and conservation of its “abundant biodiversity.

From the previous quarterly schedule, she said they are now conducting their monitoring every month.

In February, the agency reported sightings of around 300 whales and dolphins in a series of monitoring in the coastal waters of Glan and Malapatan towns, the biggest in Sarangani Bay.

The team specifically spotted 20 to 30 short-finned pilot whales, eight Risso’s dolphins, 80 to 100 Spinner dolphins, and 150 to 200 Fraser’s dolphins.

In August 2019, its monitoring team spotted around 270 marine mammals in different sites of the bay. (MindaNews)