Another Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) found at Agata Mining, near Tubay yesterday.

Source: Clark Van Facebook

Photos: ABS-CBN News

Philippines: Dead Oarfish found in Mindanao sparks debate: Can animals predict earthquakes?
11th February 2017;

The earthquake that jolted Surigao del Norte on Friday night jogged the memory of some people on social media, who were saying an incident two days prior could’ve served as a sign for the disaster that was about to strike.

On Wednesday, a 10-foot-long dead Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was caught by fishermen off the coast of Agusan del Norte.

To some, deep-sea creatures such as Oarfish that end up in shallow water are a good predictor of earthquakes. How true that is remains very much a debate?

“It’s theoretically possible because when an earthquake occurs there can be a build-up of pressure in the rocks which can lead to electrostatic charges that cause electrically charged ions to be released into the water,” Rachel Grant, a lecturer in animal biology, said in a report posted on the Independent news website in October 2013.

In an undated Japan Times article, seismologist Kiyoshi Wadatsumi said that “deep-sea fish living near the sea bottom are more sensitive to the movements of active faults than those near the surface of the sea.”

To the untrained observer, it’s easy to jump to conclusions.

Stories proliferated too linking the devastating Japan tsunami of 2011 to incidents of Oarfish beaching that prefaced the disaster.

According to Japanese folklore, Oarfish are nature’s version of prophets of doom.

But not all beachings or strandings or instances of dead deep-sea creatures being found in shallow water are followed by earthquakes and that’s why scientists find such speculation fishy.

In the same Telegraph report, Hiroshi Tajihi, of the Kobe Earthquake Centre, said: “These are just old superstitions and there is no scientific relationship between these sightings and an earthquake.”

While the Oarfish-earthquake connection holds water, more studies need to be made to confirm it as irrefutable scientific fact.

Some experts, such as Tajihi, believe this is an open-and-shut case. Others such as Grant seem to have a more open mind.

At the time of her interview with the Independent, Grant said she was putting together materials for research on the subject.

“We do know that there’s not an earthquake after every Oarfish sighting, but we are going to see if there is an increased probability of Oarfish being seen prior to an earthquake,” Grant said.

“It may be due to seismic activity or it may be due to other factors unconnected with earthquakes, such as infrasound caused by underwater activities, such as military submarines, or pollution.”

Source: ABS-CBN News

An Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) found dead in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte today.

Source: KenNek ZeroOne Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

A Fraser’s Dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) with a wound stranded in Sitio Panubigon, Brgy. Lipata, Surigao City yesterday.

Source: Loel Joy Orzales Mesias, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines

STRANDED. Rescue workers help stabilize a wounded Dolphin stranded in a coastal village in Surigao City. Shell gatherers found the Dolphin trashing in knee-deep waters early morning Thursday (26 January 2017). The Dolphin eventually died late in the afternoon.
Photo: Roel N. Catoto

Philippines: Cause of stranded Dolphin’s death in Surigao investigated
By Roel Catoto, 27th January 2017;

Experts have started an investigation on what caused the death of the Dolphin which was stranded Thursday morning in Surigao City.

The Dolphin suffered a wound above its flukes and died Thursday after hours of efforts to resuscitate it.

Dr. Leona Nortega, a veterinarian at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Caraga Region told MindaNews Friday via text message that they have made a necropsy on the mammal.

“We collected some samples for laboratory analysis, we will forward the samples to the central office for histopathology,” she said.

Norteg identified the distressed mammal as a Fraser’s Dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei), not a Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops sp.) as reported Thursday.

Jordan Mendoza and three companions found the Dolphin as it was struggling in knee-deep waters off the sandy beach between sitios Panumbuyon and Panubigon in Barangay Lipata around 5:30 a.m. yesterday. It had a wound on the upper rear part of its body near its tail flukes.

The four, who were gathering shells then, immediately contacted authorities for help.

Chief Insp. Joel V. Liong, of the Surigao City Police Station, measured the Dolphin at 7 feet and 1 inch long, a body circumference of 43 inches and width of 13.5 inches at its widest part.

He said the five-inch wide wound was being swarmed by sand fleas locally known as “bukto.”

Rollie Dizon, a resident of Panubigon who were among the first few who responded to the call for help, said the Dolphin looked frail and kept on vomiting blood.

Some Surigaonons felt sad over the death of the mammal.

Enna Batalzar, a college student, said there should have been a facility and competent personnel who could handle stranded sea animals.

Megan Villasor, a resident of Barangay Washington, said she cried upon seeing the dead Dolphin.

AA Yaptinchay, director of Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, a nongovernment organization advocating awareness on the conservation and protection of marine wildlife in the country told MindaNews that dolphins are among the many sea creatures that have been affected by marine environmental destruction and pollution.

“There are potentially more than 30 marine mammals in the Philippins. However, populations of Dolphins, Whales and the Dugong (Dugong dugon) have declined due to threats such as poaching, bycatch, pollution, and habitat destruction, among others. Moreover, a lot of the marine mammal stranding seem to be human-induced,” MWWP said.

“If humans are the cause of such threats and stranding incidents, humans could also be part of the solution. The Aquatic Marine Wildlife Rescue and Response Manual on Marine Mammals will benefit people working in coastal resource management programs, marine protected areas (MPA), and MPA networks by helping them rescue and release marine mammals back in the wild where they can continue to make significant contributions to the health of the marine ecosystem,” the group said.

Yaptinchay added more and more threats are present in Philippine seas, affecting already dwindling populations of marine wildlife. It is expected that vulnerable species will be affected by threats such as trash, habitat degradation and increasing boat traffic.

Incidents such as Dolphin stranding are expected to occur more often, he said.

“These protected species need to be handled properly in terms of the response such as rescue, data collection, crowd control and awareness raising. Procedures for the response to marine mammals, marine turtles, and sharks and rays can be found in manuals published by Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines with the Department of Agriculture and the DENR. All manuals are free to download from the MWWP website,” he said.

The response manual to marine mammal incidents can be accessed at http://mwwphilippines.org/2015/04/14/philippine-aquatic-wildlife-rescue-and-response-manual-to-marine-mammal-incidents/.

Source: MindaNews

  1. Rescue workers help stabilize the wounded Dolphin
  2. The Dolphin’s wound.
  3. STRANDED. Rescue workers help stabilize a wounded Dolphin stranded in a coastal village in Surigao City. Shell gatherers found the dolphin trashing in knee-deep waters early morning Thursday (26 January 2017). The dolphin eventually died late in the afternoon.

Photos: Roel N. Catoto

Philippines: Rescued wounded Dolphin in Surigao City dies
By Roel Catoto, 26th January 2017;

The wounded Bottlenose Fraser’s Dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) rescued in the shallow waters of a coastal village here earlier today died around 4:30 p.m.

This was confirmed by Pinky Amarille of the City Quick Action Response Team and Racquel Curtis, barangay captain of Lipata where the Dolphin was found.

Necropsy was reportedly conducted on the Dolphin, which was then buried at the shoreline of Sitio Panubigon in Lipata.

The Fraser’s Dolphin was found by Jordan Mendoza Abapo and three companions as it was thrashing in knee-deep waters off the sandy beach between sitio Panumbuyon and Panubigon in Barangay Lipata around 5:30 a.m. The shell gatherers immediately contacted authorities for help.

It had a wound on the upper rear part of its body near its tail flukes.

“It was a pitiful sight, the dolphin Dolphin to keep alive. We immediately tried to rescue it and called the attention of the authorities,” Abapo said.

Abapo said the Dolphin was cooperative. “We told him that we will help him and he responded with his sounds,” he said.

Chief Insp. Joel V. Liong, of the Surigao City Police Station, measured the Dolphin at 7 feet and 1 inch long, a body circumference of 43 inches and width of 13.5 inches at its widest part.

He said the five-inch wide wound was being swarmed by sand flea locally known as “bukto.”

“The wound is old and seems to be healing,” Liong said.

The Surigao City Quick Action Response Team stayed by the Dolphin’s side to nurse it back to health, but to no avail.

Rollie Dizon, a resident of Panubigon who were among the first few who responded to the call for help, said the Dolphin looked frail and kept on vomiting blood.

“It has a few scratches on his face and body. I hope it survives,” he said then.

Dr. Leona Nortega, a veterinarian of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Caraga Region based in Surigao City, advised those helping the mammal to keep its blowhole above the water and for people around it to stay quiet.

She was planning to look for an inflatable pool to nurse the Dolphin there because the water was choppy and only aggravated the Dolphin’s stress.

Had the Dolphin survived and regained its health, it would have been eventually released back to the sea. “That’s the procedure,” Nortega said.

Source: MindaNews

A photograph shared on the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook page shows that this is a Fraser’s Dolphin, not a Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops sp.).

Philippines: Turtle found dead near protected area
By Rodge Cultura, 4th December 2016;

An adult Turtle was found lifeless and floating along Butuan Bay, near a marine protected area, on Sunday.

The lifeless Turtle measured more than a meter long and about half a meter wide. It is estimated to have weighed more than 50 kilograms.

Butuan Bay is located near Carmen town, known to be a nesting area for marine Turtles. Every year, Turtles are found in these areas either trapped in fishnets, found dead or seen laying eggs in nearby shores.

In October 2012, a 5,756-hectare coastal area has been designated as “Carmen Critical Habitat for Marine Turtles,” which covers the coastal barangays of Vinapor, Gosoon, San Agustin, Cahayagan and Tagcatong in Carmen, Agusan del Norte province.

Last February, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) designated a 612-hectare area in the town of Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental, as a critical habitat for Hawksbill Sea Turtles, bringing to more than 6,300 hectares the total area being protected in Northeastern Mindanao to ensure the survival of the critically endangered marine species.

The designation of Magsaysay Critical Habitat for Hawksbill Turtles is embodied in DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-02, establishing the coastal barangays of Kandiis, San Isidro and Damayohan as wildlife critical habitats where a total of six nesting sites of Hawksbill Sea Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are found.

The Turtle was found with wounds in the head and protruding eyes, which may provide clues to explain its death.

As of posting, authorities from the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau have yet to check the Turtle’s carcass.

City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Norman Asugan of DENR Nasipit said he is sending his men in the area to check the lifeless Turtle.

Source:

Based on the carapace and the number of pairs of prefrontal scales, this is a Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas).