Spinner Dolphin. Dr Evelyn Saberon inspects the Dolphin carcass found in coast of Libon, Albay for necropsy at the Regional Fisheries Health Management and Diagnostics Laboratory at Fabrica, Bula, Camarines Sur. Photo courtesy of BFAR.
Photo: BFAR

Philippines: Parasites, changing temperature cause Dolphin deaths in Bicol
‘Parasites or their eggs may be carried through human or animal feces dumped in the sea that fish and even the marine mammals may feed on,’ says Dr Evelyn Saberon of BFAR
By Rhaydz B. Barcia, 11th March 2017;

Parasites from sea creatures that can affect humans killed two Dolphins in Bicol, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Bicol reported here.

Dr Evelyn Saberon, BFAR veterinarian who conducted the necropsy of two stranded Dolphins, said she found thread-like worms in the stomach of the Dolphins found in Libon, Albay and Mercedes in Camarines Norte.

The Contracaecum parasite can also be found in humans.

Nonie Enolva, BFAR-Bicol Marine Fisheries Resources Management Section chief and spokesperson, said that a stranded adult female Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris), measuring 1.6 meters in length and weighing 43 kilograms, was brought in for necropsy at the Regional Fisheries Health Management and Diagnostics Laboratory of the BFAR regional office on March 4, 2017.

“The carcass was brought in by BFAR’s Fisheries Emergency Stranding Response Team personnel who were deployed immediately to the area after residents reported the Dolphin stranding on the same day,” Enolva said.

Spinner Dolphins are well known for acrobatic acts as they spin their bodies when they emerge from the water.

Enolva said this is the 3rd reported “marine mammal stranding” in Bicol that has resulted in death this year. This came less than a week after another Dolphin died in Mercedes despite rescue and release efforts last February 28, 2017.

After conducting a necropsy, Saberon found that the mammal had enteritis and its stomach and bladder were empty. This suggests that the animal had no food intake in the past few days prior to its death.

Petechial hemorrhaging (small red spots) was also detected in the animal’s intestines.

Contracaecum parasites – though not as severe as in the first Dolphin – also contributed to its death.

“The parasites were still alive. These parasites weakened the animal until its death,” Saberon said.

Temperature changes

Sudden changes in temperature also contributed to the stress of the Dolphin.

“The sudden changes in temperature contributed to the stress of the animal and that is why Dolphin stranding is more common in this part of the year,” Saberon added.

Saberon explained that some parasites found in marine mammals are zoonotic or can infest more than one species.

“Parasites or their eggs may be carried through human or animal feces dumped in the sea [that] fish and even the marine mammals may feed on,” she said.

Blood and tissue samples were taken from the animal to the Marine Mammal Research Stranding Laboratory in UP Diliman for their Project LepTox.

Project LepTox is a research effort to investigate the occurrence of leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by a certain parasite that also affects humans.

Megamouth Shark

It will be recalled that in January 2015, a male Megamouth Shark was also stranded and found in the coast of Pioduran, Albay.

The Shark was captured by 39-year-old Edgar Chavez – a fisherman from Barangay Marigondon in Pioduran, Albay – and his companions.

Enolva said the Megamouth Shark (scientific name: Megachasma pelagios) is also the 3rd biggest filter-feeding Shark. A Megamouth Shark is among the rarest species in the world, weighing one ton with a life span of 100 years.

The Megamouth Shark can reach a maximum length of 17 feet and resides in great depths or deep water. It rises to the surface at night to feed on plankton.

Enolva said the Megamouth Shark is not edible as it contains poisonous toxins – it can have bio-accumulation of heavy metals. Once eaten by humans, it could cause infertility and even cancer.

The Megamouth Shark underwent taxidermy (all organs of the specimen were removed and its skin soaked in formalin) and stuffing for museum display.

The Shark, through taxidermy, was preserved and displayed at the Albay Parks and Wildlife for scientific study, following the order of then Albay governor and now 2nd District Representative Joey Sarte Salceda.

In July 2010, a giant Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) that had started to decompose, was also washed ashore in the coastal town of Rapu-Rapu, Albay.

Source: Rappler

A male Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus), locally known as butanding, was seen stranded at Brgy. Guinanayan, Galicia, Rapu rapu, Albay at 3:00 in the afternoon on April 28,2016. The BFAR5 team arrived early morning the following day but the Whale Shark was already dead.

The juvenile Whale Shark weighed more or less 500 kilos and was 4.19 m long.

Apparently, it had bruises in its ventral side as a result of its grounding and some net and rope marks.

The BFAR5 Team with the help of the fisherfolk in the barangay immediately buried the Whale Shark in the coast of Galicia.

The team collected sample tissues for future use or donation to research institutions with studies on Whale Sharks.

Source: Melliza Buban Trinidad BFAR Bikol Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) of 75 cm carapace length found afloat in Embarcadero area. Responded by Sea Patrol Unit of Legazpi City yesterday, April 29. The Green Sea Turtle is presumably dead for about a week due to its physical appearance and foul smell.

Source: Nonus Evolvus Facebook

An endangered Green Turtle (75 cm length) was found dead at Embarcadero, Legazpi City on 29 April.

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Personnel of the Albay Park and Wildlife show the dead Philippine Hawk Eagle on Tuesday.
Photo: Nino Luces

Philippines: Rare Philippine Hawk-eagle shot dead in Albay
By Nino Luces, 27th January 2016;

A one-year old rare Philippine Hawk-eagle (Nisaetus philippensis), which is endemic in the country, was recovered at the mountainous part of Camalig town, Albay; but then later died, January 25, 2016.

Dr. Luis Adonay, Albay Provincial Veterinary Office chief confirmed that the rare bird has a gunshot wound at the left lower breast which caused the death of the bird. “It is possible that the internal organs were hit by the bullet which resulted in death,” Adonay said.

He said that the Hawk-eagle has a wingspan of at 1 meter, 2 kilos and was at least 1 year old.

“We will send people to Camalig tomorrow (January 27, 2016) to at least know the origin of the eagle. Mati-trace natin yun. I believe na alaga siya at nakawala dahil na rin sa katawan nitong mataba,” Adonay narrated.

He added that the bird was shot by a still unidentified person at around 1 to 2 p.m. of January 26, 2016, due to the fresh wound at the body.

Dr. Manny Victorino, veterinarian of the Albay Park and Wildlife, said that the bird was found at Quituinan Hills by a concerned citizen then turned over to Camalig Philippine National Police, then later turned over to Albay Park and Wildlife.

Meanwhile, Albay Governor Joey Salceda said that based from report of the Provincial Agriculture Services (PAS), the juvenile bird is not a Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) which was reported earlier, but a Philippine Hawk-eagle.

“I will still ask the PAS for remedial measures. But our IEC on endangered and vulnerable is strong except that you cannot control trigger-happy (air gun) once they see a safe target,” Salceda said.

Source: Manila Bulletin

The Albay oarfish reportedly measured in at 13 feet (4 metres).
Photos: Joey Salceda/Facebook

Philippines: Another Giant Oarfish washes up in the Philippines (VIDEO)
15th January 2016;

It’s hard not to get really excited by an Oarfish sighting. Thanks to their uncanny resemblance to the sea serpents of lore, and their habit of popping up so very infrequently, these strange creatures have remained a true mystery of the deep. So when one washed up dead on a beach in Albay, Philippines recently, locals were ecstatic.

At a reported 13 feet (4 metres) and 110 pounds (50 kilograms), it’s easy to see why the mammoth animal drew such a crowd. While this is the longest Oarfish to hit Philippines sand, it’s far from the biggest one we’ve seen. Back in 2013, an 18-footer washed up on California’s Catalina Island. The size record stands at an impressive 36 feet (11 metres)!

Exactly why Oarfish sporadically wash up remains a mystery. Some speculate that the deep-sea fish are easily injured during storms and simply float inshore. Others suggest that changing currents may be shifting the distribution of their prey – plankton, crustaceans and squid – forcing Oarfish to spend more time in the shallows.

The Albay fish showed no obvious cause of death, aside from a small injury to the mouth that likely wasn’t fatal. Without a full necropsy, we’ll never know for certain.

According to Albay Governor Joey Salceda, who posted photos of the find on his Facebook page, half of the fish’s meat was sold to fish market patrons, while the other half was distributed among local residents.

Source: Earth Touch

Philippines: Rare fish spotted on Albay beach
Also known as ‘king of herrings’, the Oarfish is considered to be the longest bony fish ever to be recorded in the year 2015
By Jene-Anne Pangue & Bea Orante, 14th January 2016;

A carcass of a Giant Oarfish (Regalecus glesne) was found in Albay province on January 6.

Recovered on a beach in Pantao, Libon, an Albay town, it measured 4 meters and weighed 50 kilos.

A series of incredible photos capturing the Oarfish uploaded on Albay Governor Joey Salcedo’s Facebook page went viral.

Its appearance on the coast of Albay bewildered beachgoers and fishermen. This fish is thought to have inspired legends of giant sea serpents.


Regalecus glesne, known by the fanciful name of “King of Herrings” or the more stoic “Oarfish” was credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest bony fish ever to be recorded in the year 2015.

According to their FLMNH Ichthyology biological profile, this elusive creature is found living at depths of 3,280 feet (1,000 m) but more typically to depths of 656 feet (200 m).

They are not known to have any commercial value, and their meat is inedible due to its gelatinous consistency.

Unlike other bony fish, the body of the oarfish is scaleless with the skin covered instead by a silvery coat of material called guanine.

Since their stranding is rare and they are not commonly found alive, not much is known about the Giant Oarfish. Their conservation status, therefore, is also unknown, according to Oceana.org.

Source: Rappler

A rare Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was found in Libon, Albay last Friday.

Source: Elmer Biblañas Abizo Cañeta Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Female Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris) found dead at Legazpi Boulevard Barangay Puro Legazpi City. Cause of death: unknown yet

Source: Rome Candaza Facebook

A dead Spinner Dolphin stranded in Barangay Puro, Legazpi City, Albay today.

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios) Photos from Joey Salceda Facebook

Philippines: Necropsy done on Megamouth Shark caught in Albay seas is a rare event – doctors
By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo, 14th February 2015;

The necropsy or autopsy done on the dead huge Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios) in the Albay Park and Wildlife by foreign veterinarians on Wednesday was a very rare event not only in the Philippines but also in the entire world – foreign and local doctors said.

The 15-footer male Megamouth Shark named “Toothless” was fished out in Burias Pass by Albay fishermen earlier and is the 66th Megamouth Shark found worldwide and the 15th in the country.

Dr. Aa Yaptinchay, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines director, said necropsy is a process of finding out the reason for the death of the shark and what they did was a rare move.

Lending hand to his group are foreign veterinarians headed by Dr. Alessandro Ponzo from the Large Marine Vertebrates, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Bicol, and Dr. Florencio Adonay, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Veterinary Office of Albay and Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Office headed by Arnold Embestro.

Adornay shared Yaptinchay’s remark on the event.

He said the necropsy done by the foreign veterinarians lasted up to 9:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Yaptinchay said the documentation process on the shark is important because of the big role of the Philippines in the World Wildlife Marine Biodiversity.

This is in accordance with the National Plan of Action of the government being implemented by the BFAR.

It is estimated that there are 500 species of the sea mammal in the world, of which 200 are in the Philippines. (What on Earth is this sentence trying to say?)

Yaptinchay said that of the 66 Megamouth Sharks recorded throughout the world, 18 were found in Japan, 15 in the Philippines and there were also records in the United States.

Of these 15 found in the country, two appeared in Bicol – one in Donsol, Sorsogon, and the last one in Albay.

The Megamouth Shark is the rarest species in the world, weighing one ton with a life span of 100 years.

This male shark is at least 2.1 meters wide and with an estimated weight of 1,000 kilos, bigger than what has been recovered in Cagayan de Oro, which weighed 500 kilograms and was 18 feet long.

The foreign doctors lauded the Provincial Government of Albay under Governor Joey Sarte Salceda for its initiative in preserving the shark.

Today, the shark will be placed in an aquarium in the Albay Parks and Wildlife.

It will then be open for public viewing.

Adonay said the series of embalming of the shark will continue for it to last for 20 years inside the aquarium.

He said many media practitioners were around to cover the event, including a team from the Discovery Channel, an American global mass media and entertainment company based in Silver Springs, Maryland, which had earlier shown interest to film and witness the necropsy and preservation process of the deep-water shark.

Source: Bicol Today

Photo by Cathy Elan

Megamouth 66 preliminary finding: Toothless was a healthy, 4.41 meter, mature male Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios). His death was a consequence of being accidentally captured in a fishing net in the Burias Pass (Pio Duran, Albay) last 28 January.

The necropsy team was composed of veterinarians and assistants from Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, Large Marine Vertebrate Project, Philippines, Born to Be Wild, Albay Provincial Veterinary Office, BFAR Region 5, Pili, CamSur, and the Park and Wildlife Center in Legazpi City. The members of the necropsy team were all exhausted after almost 12 hours of work last 11 February, but happy to have completed the task. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook