GLAN, SARANGANI PROVINCE - Beachgoers, locals, and volunteers alike watched in amazement as seven (7) dugongs swam close to the shores of Barangay Gumasa, here on a sunny Friday afternoon.
"It is quite the coincidence that these marine mammals appeared just in time with our celebration of SarBay Fest 2022!" said Protected Area Superintendent (PAsu) of Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS) Joy C. Ologuin.
Earlier that day, participants from the local government unit of Glan, Provincial Government of Sarangani, PNP Maritime, Philippine Coast Guard, DENR-12, DENR Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) of Sarangani, and SBPS Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) in partnership with community volunteers kicked off the celebration of SarBay Fest 2022 with a massive Crown-of-Thorns (COT) starfish Collection Activity at Coco Beach Resort in Barangay Gumasa.
"We were docked some distance away from the beach aboard the DENR Monitoring Boat. We just finished our COT collection activity when our team spotted dugongs breaking the water's surface," recounted PAMO In-House veterinarian Dr. Roy O. Mejorada.
"We quickly deployed the drone and confirmed 7 dugongs: 3 pairs of mothers and their calves!" he said.
Captured in the drone photos are mother dugongs nursing their calves as the SBPS monitoring team documented them from a safe distance.
This year's theme for SarBay Fest 2022 is Wake up, SarBay! PENR Officer Maria Elvira V. Lumayag said in her message of support, "This SarBay Fest, we are enjoining the public to join us in conserving SBPS, let us wake up in the beauty and richness of Sarangani Bay!" | With report and photos from PAMO-SBPS and SRCabildo of PENRO Sarangani