Philippines: Crocs, humans compete for food in Siargao’s Paghungawan Marsh

By Roel Catoto, 30th September 2014;

Some residents fish in Paghungawan Marsh in Jaboy, Siargao Island, but Philippine Crocodiles (Crocodylus mindorensis) also hunt for food in the same environs, setting off a competition that appears to have put the endangered predators at a disadvantage.

Thirty-six year-old crocodiles, comprising 30 females and six males which were bred in captivity, were freed in the marshland on March 22 last year.

The crocodiles belong to the species Crocodylus mindorensis, considered one of the most threatened in the world.

But at least two of those crocodiles died either in January or February this year after they got entangled in a fisherman’s net, village chair Narda E. Trego said. She added the marsh had plenty of water at the time since it was rainy season.

During the rainy season Paghungawan Marsh would have at least 600 hectares covered with water. Its area would shrink to around 120 hectares in the dry season.

Trego said a few villages still fish in the marsh, but they have regulated fishing activities through a barangay ordinance passed in August last year that bans the use of nets, tubli (poison) and big hooks.

“We are implementing our barangay ordinance because this reptile is rare and endangered and it’s protected by law,” she said.

She said some people in their village still could not understand the importance of the crocodiles, and they would get angry whenever they are told not to do fishing.

She said the crocodiles now now have a better habitat in this village.

“It was just unfortunate that two were killed, but we hope that it will never happen again,” she added.

A resident who requested anonymity said only around 20 of the reptiles were left in the marsh due to fishing.

Bred in captivity

The 36 crocodiles were bred at Pagasa Farms in Kapalong, Davao del Norte from the offspring of the stock loaned to it by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. They were released in the marsh by the DENR, National Museum and Crocodylus Porosus Philippines Inc., which operates Pagasa Farms.

The Philippine Crocodile enjoys legal protection under Republic Act 9147, the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, and other Philippine laws, according to the DENR. It is also protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

These reptiles shy away from humans and so don’t pose danger to residents.

According to Wikipedia, the Philippine Crocodile is a relatively small, freshwater crocodile. They have a relatively broad snout and thick bony plates on its back (heavy dorsal armor). This is a fairly small species, reaching breeding maturity at 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and 15 kg (33 lb) in both sexes and a maximum size of approximately 3.1 m (10 ft). Females are slightly smaller than males. Philippine Crocodiles are golden-brown in color, which darkens as it matures.

Crocodile watching

Trego said a local organization called Jaboy Ecotourism Conservation Organization (JICO) helps protect the crocodiles.

JICO treasurer Nelia Salavaloza said the presence of the crocodiles in their marshland has turned their village into a tourism site.

“We offer crocodile watching at night in the marshland and boating during the day at a very affordable price,” Salvaloza said.

This attraction started in August this year. For P400 pesos, two persons can enjoy a 30-minute ride and crocodile watching.

Salavaloza said some foreigners who had tried the crocodile watching at night were amazed by the crocodiles.

She told some villagers to refrain from fishing saying they would still benefit from the visiting tourists in their area.

“We allow everyone from this village to tour visitors in the marshland,” she added.

Source: MindaNews

Philippines: Crocs, humans compete for food in Siargao’s Paghungawan Marsh

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(Photos by Arsad Roseller, from Laili Basir Facebook)

Malaysia: Whale ends up in Banggi
30th September 2014;

A Whale showed up at Kampung Kapitangan in Pulau Banggi, some 20 km from Karakit, Sunday night. A photo of the creature stranded ashore was circulated via social media.

When contacted, Kudat Police Chief Supt Dawi Ossen said villagers who made the discovery tried to guide the Whale, which was still alive back into the sea.

However, their efforts failed when the Whale came back to shore and subsequently lost its fight to survive.

Dawi said police personnel on duty went to the scene at about 5.30 pm and found that the villagers had buried the carcass at the beach.

In August 2012, a 15.8-metre Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) also showed up at the tributary of Sungai Sitompok, near Kampung Hujung Air in Kuala Penyu.

However, it was dead by 8 pm despite a 12-hour effort to guide it back to sea using ropes and pouring sea water over its 4-metre diameter body.

In February the same year, a 12-metre baleen whale was found dead in Pulau Mengalum waters about 40 nautical miles from Kota Kinabalu.

Another 20-metre Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera edeni) also got stranded and died in Lok Urai in Pulau Gaya on 15th December 2006 and its full skeleton is exhibited at the Sabah Museum.

Source: Daily Express

There is much uncertainty regarding the taxonomy of Bryde’s Whale, which have been split into two subspecies, a larger, offshore form (Balaenoptera edeni brydei), and a smaller, coastal form (Balaenoptera edeni edeni). However, some regard them to be so distinct that Balaenoptera edeni brydei should be elevated to full species, Balaenoptera brydei. To add to the confusion, several Bryde’s Whale specimens from the Indo-Pacific have turned out to be Omura’s Whale (Balaenoptera omurai) instead.

Philippines: Toxic pollutants among causes of Cavite fish kill

By Ellalyn De Vera, 29th September 2014;

Low dissolved oxygen level and toxic pollutants have caused the fish kills in Rosario, Cavite last week, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

The BFAR Quick Response Team and the Fish Health Unit personnel of BFAR-Region IV-A were deployed in Rosario, Cavite last September 25 following a reported incident of fish mortality in Malimango River, a four-kilometer river, which starts in Barangay Bagbag 1 and ends in Barangay Ligtong 1 where it opens to Manila Bay.

The river traverses five barangays in Rosario, Cavite namely; Bagbag 1, Bagbag 2, Ligtong 1, Ligtong 3 and, Ligtong 4.

“The stretch of Malimango river is not an aquaculture-producing area and the fish affected by the mortality were wild stock species of Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.), asohos (sand whiting) (Sillago sp.), banak (mullet) (F. Mugilidae) and biya (goby),” BFAR reported.

The loss is estimated at one ton.

“Initial findings indicated that dissolved oxygen (DO) level in all three sampling points—Barangay Bagbag Uno (B), Barangay Ligtong 3 and Barangay Ligtong 4—was below 3-5 mg/L or within the critical level,” it said.

“The water quality test came back with high levels of ammonia-nitrogen, nitrite-nitrogen, and phosphates, beyond acceptable level, in all the sampling sites,” it added.

Ammonia is a chemical compound produced naturally from decomposing organic matter, including plants, animals and animal wastes.

The ammonia in the water samples, however, might have also come from agricultural, domestic and industrial wastes.

Phosphates, meanwhile, are one of the primary nutrient sources for many forms of algae and could come from sources like domestic sewage and runoff from agricultural land, urban areas and green areas.

These chemicals at alarming level have hazardous effects on fish which may result in fish mortality, BFAR added.

BFAR has recommended the necessary management measures during the fish mortality occurrence such as proper disposal of dead fish to ensure that dead fish will not reach the market and prevent the occurrence of sanitary-related diseases.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Philippines: Toxic pollutants among causes of Cavite fish kill

Philippines: 5 industrial firms tagged in fish kill

By Anthony Giron, 29th September 2014;

Some residents tagged at least five industrial firms as suspects in Maalimango River fish kill late last week as concerned citizens asked authorities to look into the incident thoroughly to prevent a repetition of such tributary disaster.

Mayor Jose “Nonong” Ricafrente Jr. said his administration would revive the river with a massive cleanup and fingerlings installation to replace the lost fish and other marine life in the tributary.

Ricafrente said that it may take months or a year for the more than one kilometer-stretch river to get back to life with the actions to be taken.

The lawyer-mayor declared the river dead over the weekend after he found out, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), that the estuary water contained a chemical deadly for fish and other marine species.

Ricafrente said that the BFAR is set to issue a statement, with their final report, today with regards to the Thursday river fish kill.

The mayor claimed that BFAR’s initial finding revealed that the river fish died “due to lack of oxygen and a still unknown chemical.”

The local chief executive assured that an investigation would be called to trace the chemical source with the BFAR’s report.

Concerned residents, who requested anonymity, said they believed that the deadly chemical came from one of at least five industrial firms with “inactive or no water treatment facilities at all.”

Chemical-emitting factories, particularly those along the river, are required to install the “facilities” to prevent water pollution.

Ricafrente said that he would order the closure of the firm liable for the chemical spill. He likewise cited that he would look into the lapses of concerned agencies on the incident.

Source: Tempo

Philippines: 5 industrial firms tagged in fish kill

Common Asian Toads (Duttaphrynus melanostictus)
Sungei Tengah, 14th July 2014

It’s likely that this (very unfortunate) pair of Common Asian Toads was crossing the road while in amplexus when they were run over.