Malaysia: Malaysian Nature Society concerned over dead Dolphins

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Picture of the dead Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin* found at the Tanjung Bungah beachfront.

By Imran Hilmy, 6th January 2018;

The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) has questioned why no autopsy was conducted on two Dolphins found dead less than a week apart at the Tanjung Bungah beachfront.

MNS advisor D. Kanda Kumar said Dolphins are not common in Penang waters but have been spotted around the island sometimes.

He said it is quite baffling that the Dolphins were found dead in the same area within the same week

“This might indicate something is wrong with the waters there, we might not know whether the area is contaminated or the Dolphins had plastic waste in their stomachs”, he told The Sun when contacted.

Kanda Kumar said the relevant authorities should come and collect the carcasses for an autopsy.

He said without an autopsy, the cause of death of the mammals will not be known.

“There must be a reason why the Dolphins were found dead in the same area, there could be something wrong with the waters”, he said.

When contacted Penang Department of Fisheries (DOF) director Noraisyah Abu Bakar confirmed that the department had received reports from the public about the dead Dolphins.

She said the mammals are from the common species of dolphins known as Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)*.

She also pointed out the mammal is not endangered, the department is not required to conduct an autopsy on the carcasses.

“Following the standard operating procedure, we did not conduct an autopsy on the mammals as it is not endangered”, she said.

Noraisyah said necessary action had been taken by the department and urge the public to inform the authorities if they discover any dead marine species in their respective areas.

She also called on environmentalist groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to work together with the FIR in creating awareness and at the same time protect endangered marine life in Penang waters.

Source: The Sun Daily

*Contrary to the opinion of the Penang Department of Fisheries director, the carcasses look more like Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins (Sousa chinensis), and have been identified as such by multiple sources in other reports.

Malaysia: Mystery surrounds Dolphin carcasses found on Penang beach

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Photo: Jeya Shah Facebook

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Photo: Department of Fisheries Malaysia Twitter

By Melissa Darlyne Chow, 5th January 2018;

Residents have been left puzzled after two Dolphin carcasses were washed ashore on a beach in Tanjung Bungah here within a week.

Sonya Shah said the first carcass was found on Dec 29, while the second was found two days ago.

While both Dolphins have since been buried at the beach, Sonya, who lives nearby, expressed her disappointment with the way the situations were handled.

“My mother and I struggled to get help as we called several fisheries, marine rescue teams and wildlife sanctuaries based in Penang and each of them passed the job onto someone else.

“Every one of them gave us different phone numbers to call and their reason for not attending to the incident was that it was ‘not their job’. They even advised us to call SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals),” she said in a Facebook post, adding that it took several hours until a small group of people came to help.

Sonya said she had expected the Dolphins to be taken to laboratories to be examined so that their cause of death could be determined and future deaths could be prevented.

“Evidently, these deaths must have been unnatural and I am no marine biologist but I know that this could have been avoided. Whether they had been poisoned, gotten lost, suffocated, or caught a disease.

“We could have helped and it didn’t need to result in death. They are just as worthy of living as we are,” she said.

Sonya also lamented the actions of beachgoers who had a total disregard and lack of respect for the carcasses.

“People were actually throwing shingles, pebbles and shells at the carcass and when asked not to fiddle with the body, they responded with anger, hostility and impudence,” she said.

Meanwhile, activist Andrew Ng said they had contacted the Fisheries Department concerning the carcasses.

“I personally think that they didn’t do a thorough job. They just measured and buried the body.

“They didn’t determine the cause of death or take any samples from the dolphin for testing,” he told FMT.

Ng said he sent photographs of the carcasses to the Langkawi Dolphin Research Centre, which provided information on the species of the Dolphins.

“The centre said that it is an Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis), a near threatened species under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list,” he added.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia: Two Dolphins found dead in less than a week

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Photo: Department of Fisheries Malaysia Twitter

5th January 2017;

A dead Dolphin was washed ashore in Tanjung Bungah, the second within six days.

Environmental activist Andrew Ng Yew Han said the first Dolphin, which was decomposing, was spotted last Friday at the same stretch of beach behind a hotel in Tanjung Bungah while another was found yesterday.

“I’ve asked the fishermen and residents’ association to let me know if there are more sightings of dead Turtles or Dolphins, and I alerted the authorities over the years whenever there are such sightings.

“This is to create more awareness and pressure the authorities to investigate such matters as it is vital to find out their cause of death,” he said.

Senior lecturer Dr Leela Rajamani from the Centre for Marine and Coastal studies of Universiti Sains Ma­­laysia, confirmed that the de­­com­­posing Dolphin was that of an Indo-Pacific Humpback (Sousa chinensis).

She said the humpback species was among the four main species in Penang.

“We see them going around the island and they are commonly sighted in a big group heading north, west and south of the island.

“A post-mortem is needed to identify their cause of death.

“We are looking for funding. A proper lab is needed to do a post-mortem,” she said.

Source: The Star

Thailand: At Least 400 Rare Marine Animals Perished in 2017

By Asaree Thaitrakulpanich, 25th December 2017;

Thailand’s life aquatic faces a murky future after a year that saw sensitive species injured by humans, beached ashore or choked on trash.

Marine officials said about 400 endangered marine animals died in Thai waters in 2017, with the population of Dugongs (Dugong dugon) running especially low in a year that also saw the Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) declared endangered.

“I can’t estimate whether more or fewer animals will die next year,” Weerapong Laovetchprasit, a government marine wildlife veterinarian in Rayong said Monday.

Although the number rose considerably from last year’s 355, marine officials at a Friday press conference Friday said that’s due to better reporting via social media, not necessarily an increase in animal deaths.

“About 400 rare marine animals died this year, mostly because they were beached, injured by fishing boats or ate trash,” said Jatuporn Burutpat, director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

Sea Turtles, Dugongs, Dolphins and Whales are all among marine animals considered rare.

The department’s developmental institute director Ukkrit Sataphumintr said that only 2,500 to 3,500 Sea Turtles are left in Thailand. There are important breeding grounds on Ko Khram in Chonburi, the Similan Islands and Mai Khao Beach on Phuket. He said the low numbers are a cause for concern but credited awareness campaigns for some progress.

“Campaigns for Thai people to conserve Sea Turtles only started working recently after 30 years of trying,” Ukkrit said. “Thai people only just stopped eating Turtle eggs.”

There are about 2,000 Dolphins and Whales in Thailand comprised of more than 27 species. Ukkrit said the marine department has been following the movement of these mammals, especially those of Bryde’s Whales (Balaenoptera edeni or Balaenoptera brydei), and identified more than 60 individuals.

Dugongs may be in the most dire straits, with only 200 to 250 left, mostly in the Andaman Sea around Koh Libong in Trang province.

Nantarika Chansue, a veterinarian at Chulalongkorn University, said passers-by who encounter beached animals should report them to the Department of Marine Resources’ research branches.

Nantarika’s efforts on behalf of marine animals came to public attention earlier this year when she operated on Piggy Bank, a giant Sea Turtle that died following surgery to remove 915 coins from its stomach.

In March, Piggy Bank became a symbol for Sea Turtles kept in captivity when the 25-year-old reptile died from surgery complications, capturing the news cycle for several days.

In December, the Irrawaddy Dolphin and Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) – freshwater mammals that have their last bastion in Thailand – were declared endangered by the IUCN Red list.

Any beached marine animals, dead or alive, should be reported to the Department of Marine Resources’s research branches in Rayong, Samut Sakhon, Chumphon, Songkhla or Phuket provinces for rescue or autopsy either via Facebook or calling the listed phone numbers.

Source: Khaosod English

Thailand: At Least 400 Rare Marine Animals Perished in 2017

Photo: Dr. Jeneveve Sulliva, via Friends of PMMSN – Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network Facebook

Philippines: Beached Pilot Whale rescued in Ilocos Norte
6th December 2017;

Authorities rescued a female Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) found beached in Currimao, Ilocos Norte.

At about 6:00 a.m., coastal residents in Salugan village tried to get near the stranded marine mammal but due to strong winds, it was drifted to the sandy shores of Barangay Victoria, in front of the Sitio Remedios Resort in Currimao town.

The locals reported the incident to concerned authorities, responders for endangered marine mammals in the province immediately proceeded to the area to rescue the stranded whale.

One of the responders, Provincial Fisheries and Regulatory Officer Arthur Valente, said in an interview that the endangered marine animal is now recovering. “She can now float while supportive care is being administered,” he said of the Whale.

Valente added that the responders are still doing their best to stabilize the stranded marine animal before they can release it back to the open sea.

Representatives from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, local government units, village officials, Philippine Maritime, fisherfolk community and the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network based in the province are jointly conducting monitoring of the stranded Whale.

Based on initial assessment, Valente said the Pilot Whale appeared to be stressed and had bruises around the face.

Over the years, Ilocos Norte has been considered as one of the hot spots for stranded marine mammals, with a number of them successfully rehabilitated and released.

Source: PageOne.ph

Photos: Dr. Jeneveve Sulliva

A 3.85 m adult female Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) stranded in Gaang Bay, Currimao, Ilocos Norte this morning. The animal was released but restranded. PMMSN 1 lead by BFAR 1, LGU-Currimao, PVO and OPAG of Ilocos Norte, Brgy. VIctoria officials and fisherfolks are attending to the animal.

Source: Friends of PMMSN – Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network Facebook

Update, 6th December 2017 16:43

We regret to inform everyone that this Pilot Whale died early this morning. Necropsy is currently being conducted by Dr. Jeneveve Suliva and her team from the PVO of Ilocos Norte.

Source: Friends of PMMSN – Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network Facebook

Photo: Dhanjorvan Rasay

A male female Pilot Whale stranded in Brgy Victoria, Currimao, Ilocos Norte this morning. It is now being inspected by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Picture and report by Dhanjorvan Rasay.

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook