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KIAMBA, SARANGANI PROVINCE - A wounded male Melon-Headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) was rescued in the coast of Barangay Tambilil here Friday, March 13, 2020, environment officials said.

Carmelo Velasco, municipal environment and natural resources officer (MENRO) of Kiamba, said the wounded whale was found by Sabas Vere.

Vere shared the information Julia Mosqueda, a public school teacher who reported to the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office of Kiamba.

Residents of Purok Green Revolution, Barangay Tambilil spotted two huge whales early Friday morning.

“We thought that they were dolphins, just swimming around. Dolphins are commonly seen here. Later on, a couple of whale swam ashore but left the wounded one,” they said.

“It’s like it left the wounded whale so the villagers can extend help,” they added.

Personnel of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Kiamba and representatives of the municipal government immediately acted to give necessary treatment to the mammal.

Initial inspection showed a one-inch of wound near the fin and scratches in its snout.

It weighs more than 130 kilograms and an estimated body length of more than 2 meters.

“If this whale needs more treatment, we can seek help from our medical team, besides, Dr. Roy is also on his way here”, Velasco said referring to the Provincial Veterinarian, Dr. Roy Mejorada.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) representatives examined any possibility of dynamite fishing incident as it can cause acoustic trauma to mammals in the sea.

Marine wildlife experts believed that the whale may have encountered a Cookiecutter shark causing the injuries.

After more than three hours of observation, the wounded whale headed its way back to the sea.

The rescue team believed that the whale has regained its strength.

The CENR Officer of Kiamba, Dr. Ali M. Hadjinasser assured the public that the environment laws are effectively enforced in the areas of Kiamba, Maitum and Maasim (MAKIMA), Sarangani with the support from Multi-Sectoral Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force of MAKIMA, Sarangani.

“We’re glad to receive reports from the locals on this kind of incident,” he said.

“It means that the community is getting aware and getting more concerned about protecting wildlife especially,” he added.

Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape is rich in coastal and marine life and legislated as one of the protected areas in the county under Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System of 2018. (Aileen D. Tenio, IO Designate) | Photos and Information by Maria N. Tubera    # # #