GLAN, Sarangani Province โ€“ A solitary dugong has been spotted by the DENR monitoring team within the strict protection zone (SPZ) of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS) during the departmentโ€™s quarterly watch on Jan. 25.

The Dugong, which is the SBPSโ€™s flagship species, was sighted foraging in the seagrass beds off Barangay Gumasa of this town using a drone camera.

Cirilo A. Lagnason, Jr. SBPS protected area superintendent (PASu), said the sighting highlights the critical role of SPZ as sanctuaries of threatened marine wildlife. He said that joint efforts have been conducted to protect the dugongs which are vulnerable to extinction due to habitat loss.

"While sightings of these species are not uncommon in this area, their presence serves as an important indicator of the overall health of our bay. We urge our communities to remain steadfast in their efforts to protect and preserve these species," PASu Lagnason said.

For. Shalimar A. Disomangcop, provincial environment and natural resources officer (PENRO) of Sarangani, has urged all the stakeholders to heighten their conservation initiatives, particularly on the protection of seagrass beds, which are the primary food source of dugongs. ### (With report and photos from SRCabildo, PENRO Sarangani Information Officer) | RSCIGM