GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 26 Oct) – Environment personnel rescued a distressed female Pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) that was stranded in a coastal village in Maitum town, Sarangani province, an official said on Tuesday.
Forester Abdul Cariga, head of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)-Kiamba, said the two-meter whale was found by fishermen on Monday morning near the shores of Barangay Mabay in Maitum.
He said the whale appeared “weak and wounded,” prompting the fishermen to immediately report the matter to concerned agencies.
Cariga said personnel from CENRO-Kiamba, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office of Maitum, Sarangani Environmental Conservation and Protection Center (ECPC), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources responded to the area to rescue the stranded marine mammal.
He said their personnel facilitated the medical aid to the whale through instructions by phone from Dr. Roy Mejorada, the ECPC program manager and resident veterinarian.
“We occasionally rescue marine mammals like whales, dolphins, and marine turtles within our jurisdiction. Through close coordination with the local government units, our trained personnel can somehow assist in the recovery of these species,” he said in a statement.
Cariga said the rescued whale is still under observation and will be “released back to the wild” once it recovers and regains strength.
Last month, a stranded female pilot whale was also rescued and eventually released back to the sea in Barangay Gumasa in the municipality of Glan after a five-day rehabilitation.
The 4.2-meter whale, which was already weak and dehydrated with buoyancy problem due to an injury in its left flipper or pectoral fin, was found beached in the area on Aug. 29.
Nicknamed “heroine,” the marine mammal was released by environment workers on Sept. 3 after regaining strength.
Sarangani Bay and the adjacent seas are home to hundreds of various marine species, among them dolphins and whales, based on the periodic monitoring by the city government here, ECPC, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Region 12.
The latest sightings early this month included a pod of 10-12 rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis), which was seen for the first time in the area. (MindaNews)