Sperm Whale Found Dead Ashore in Baculin, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

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Photo Courtesy of Dennis Brylle Balambao of DA-BFAR Caraga Fisheries Laboratory
A beached marine mammal was reportedly found dead ashore in Sitio Gakubay, Baculin, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur last Saturday, May 9, 2020.
Based on the initial results of the on-site investigation conducted by the Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) Caraga Fisheries Laboratory personnel in coordination with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur and the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the carcass was identified as a Sperm
Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) that is 17.06 meters long with an estimated weight of more than 40 tonnes.
The carcass was in an advanced decomposition stage (Code 4 as per Specimen and Data Collection Field Guide for Marine Mammal Strandings by Geraci JR, Lounsbury VJ (2005)) as evidenced by its missing skin, soft blubber, bloating, and strong foul odor, thereby limiting the laboratory personnel to conduct a necropsy.
Meanwhile, tissue and teeth samples were collected by the laboratory personnel and will be sent to the University of the Philippines - Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology for biological and molecular tests and age estimation.
After thorough deliberation among LGU officials and as per recommendation by the DA-BFAR XIII personnel, for purposes of sanitation, the carcass should be buried to at least 6 feet below the ground in a secluded area that is distant from nearby communities. The LGU Hinatuan also expressed its intent to collect the bones of the carcass for specimen accessioning.
Under Section 4 of the Republic Act No. 9147 known as the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act”, the DA BFAR shall have jurisdiction over all marine mammals, except dugong; thus, DA-BFAR Caraga urges the public to report any marine mammal stranding or beaching incidence to the nearest Municipal Agriculture Office or to the BFAR Provincial Fisheries Office for immediate and appropriate action.
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