Dead sperm whale found beached in Davao Occidental

The dead sperm whale. Photo courtesy of DENR-Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 May) – The carcass of a sperm whale washed up on the shore of Sitio Sakalig, Barangay Sugal, in Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental on Saturday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Davao Region said on Sunday.
 
In a press release, the DENR-Davao said two fishermen reported the discovery of the remains of the massive whale to barangay officials, who contacted local officials and the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO).

The Jose Abad Santos Municipal Police Station said the whale was found around 5 a.m. Saturday.

The whale, measuring 60 feet long and nine feet wide, suffered from multiple wounds and was most likely lifeless before reaching the shores.
 
The agency said its regional executive director, Bagani Fidel A. Evasco directed the PENRO to coordinate with concerned agencies and experts in marine biology for the disposal of the carcass as it poses a potential hazard to the nearby community.
 
“There is also a need to cordon the area.  And the carcass should be disposed of immediately because its smell can be toxic and hazardous to the community,” Evasco said.  
 
Police and barangay officials have cordoned the area. 

The DENR-Davao said the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office headed by Harry Camoro will work with Davao Museum and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office to perform a deboning on the carcass.

Necropsy

Darrell Blatchley, proprietor of Davao-based D’ Bone Collector Museum, said the necropsy was scheduled Sunday afternoon, May 22.

He said it will take at least 36 hours to complete the necropsy of the sperm whale.

Blatchley has been assisting the DENR in the examination of whale carcasses along different parts of the Davao Gulf.

He said for the 12 years of investigating cetacean deaths in different shores, he has collected at least 74 bones from different species.

“Sixty of those were from man-made causes,” he told MindaNews. 

Four of the dead cetaceans examined were pregnant.

Cetacean is the term used to describe mammals such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists the sperm whale as being “vulnerable’ while the United States Endangered Species Act lists it as “endangered”.

As defined by the IUCN, a species is vulnerable if it possesses “a high risk of extinction in the wild.”

On the other hand, a species is considered endangered if it faces “a very high risk of extinction in the wild.” (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews with a report from Yas Ocampo)