This photo posted by BFAR in its Facebook page shows rescuers treating the wounds of the female Whale that was stranded in the sea waters of Salcedo town in Eastern Samar. After the treatment and documentation, the mammal was released back to the sea on January 10, 2017.
Photo: BFAR

Philippines: Wounded Whale rescued in Eastern Samar
By Ricky J. Bautista, 13th January ;

A wounded Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) stranded in Salcedo town in Eastern Samar was rescued and returned back to sea, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional office reported.

The BFAR said the local folk who discovered the Whale stranded in the seashore of Barangay Butig, Salcedo town around 9 a.m. of January 10 immediately alerted the authorities.

According to the first responders’ account, the Whale was seen swimming erratically near the shore of said village and was being followed by fishermen.

Sensing that the Whale might be in danger of being slaughtered, the unidentified concerned citizen sought help from Port Kennedy. Fearing the Whale will be killed and consumed, they brought the Whale on shore and called for assistance.

The rescuers said the Whale, measuring to about 2.5 meters in length and 1.25 girth at its fins, was very weak, stressed and had several contusions even in the eyes.

The BFAR team immediately treated the wounds. After four hours of treatment, the Whale was released back to sea, off Pearl Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

“The release was considered successful by the rescuers, as the whale was observed to be strong again and swim faster than it was found stranded,” said one of the BFAR personnel.

Source: Sun.Star

Stranded Whale Successfully Released!

BFAR 8 – A female Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) stranded last January 10 in Brgy. Butig, Salcedo, Eastern Samar was successfully released on the same day near the Pearl Island in Guiuan.

The residents of Barangay Butig, Salacedo through the LGU of Salcedo reported a mammal stranding incident in their vicinity. The stranding happened last January 10, 2017 at 9 in the morning. The residents immediately called for back-up and assistance.

According to the first responders, the Whale was seen swimming erratically near the shore of Brgy. Butig and was being followed by fishermen from Port Kennedy. Because of their fear that the Whale will be killed and consumed, they brought the whale on the shore and called for assistance.

Upon the arrival of the stranding team, the Whale was assessed for injuries and was measured. The whale was identified as Melon-headed Whale (dark body color and white lips) measuring 2.5 meters in length and 1.25 girth around its fins.

Initial assessment of the team is that the Whale was observed weak and stressed. Several wounds were seen on the Whale, all of the wound were round shaped and with white substance probably fungus. It was also observed that the left eye might be injured because it also has the white substance (fungus).

The stranding team applied povidone iodine to the wounds of the Whale as first aid, and after some time the Whale regained its strength. When the stranding team observed that it was stronger compared to its earlier condition, the Whale was brought to the deeper water near Pearl Island (N 11°04’04" E 125°39’41") for release.

At 12:30 PM the mammal was released to the sea. After the release the team followed the Whale for some time until it dived and was unseen by the stranding team. It was assumed as a successful release.

Credits to the owners of the photos and the source of information:

  • David N. Cosmiano Jr.
  • Jaime Salazar
  • Raul T. Bulan
  • Michael S. Gayoso
  • Mheljay D. Burlaza
  • Prudito Gacgacao
  • Roderick Benablo

Source: BFAR Region 8 Facebook

Workers of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources bring a dead Fraser’s Dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) to its grave at the Fish Cemetery in Dagupan City.
Willie Lomibao

Philippines: Ilocos region top PH hot spot for sea mammal stranding
2015 was the worst year so far, with 112 trapped, according to marine biology expert
By Yolanda Sotelo, 11th October 2016;

At dawn on Oct. 6, a Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) died right after it was taken from intensive care in a facility in Alaminos City. Hours later, a weak Rough-toothed Dolphin (Steno bredanensis) (Actually a Spinner Dolphin) (Stenella longirostris) was found beached off Santo Domingo town in Ilocos Sur province.

The two incidents occurred on the first day of a national symposium on marine mammals here, as if to emphasize the need to enhance sea environment protection to shield these animals from harm.

The Ilocos region is a hot spot in marine mammal stranding, topping all regions in the last 11 years. A total of 692 stranding incidents have been recorded since 2005, most involving Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris).

Worst year

Last year was the worst so far for animal stranding, with 112 marine mammals trapped or stranded, said Dr. Lemuel Aragones, president of the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network (PMMSN).

There are several reasons marine mammals go to the beach. A 2010 study made by Aragones shows that sudden explosions from dynamite fishing give sea animals “acoustic trauma.”

Sea mammals, like Whales, navigate by sending out sound pulses to find prey and determine their surroundings. When they lose their hearing, they lose their way, Aragones said.

Some animals suffer injuries because of fishing activities. Dolphins have been tangled in fishing nets or gears. Biotoxins and human interaction are also cited as reasons for the stranding.

But the Philippines also has a high rate of live stranding, a reference to sea animals who survive their ordeal at the shore.

Records show 65 percent of beached marine mammals were alive. Of the 692 stranded sea mammals in 11 years, 418 lived. A total of 187 survivors were released back to the sea after receiving supportive care.

“Globally, two or three sea animals are dead when they get to shore,” Aragones said.

Dramatic decline

This year, stranding cases have slid down dramatically, with only 51 beached sea animals recorded as of Oct 6.

Thirteen of these animals were found or treated in the Ilocos region.

The PMMSN said it has a 27 percent success rate in the rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals. The group has no funding, Aragones said, and is dependent on member agencies to subsidize projects to save sea animals.

The group said all regions should have a speed boat that would serve as an animal ambulance that could carry 3-meter long Dolphins and Whales. The Ilocos region has such an ambulance, which can be filled with water and is equipped with a stretcher.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Melon-headed Whale, shown here being treated at a Bureau of Aquatic and Fisheries Resources office facility in Alaminos City, Pangasinan province, died on Thursday.

Philippines: Whale won’t leave coast, dies while being treated
By Yolanda Sotelo, 7th October 2016;

A female Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) caught two weeks ago in Dasol, Pangasinan province, died on Thursday while undergoing treatment at a facility of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Fishermen found the 2-meter long Whale beached along Dasol Bay on Sept. 23 and brought it back to the sea. But it was sighted again in the afternoon on the same day so village officials decided to bring it to the BFAR facility in Alaminos City.

Samantha Licudine, a BFAR veterinarian, said the Whale had many scratches in the body and had a deep cut near its snout.

“Maybe it was trying to escape from something so there was a laceration,” she said.

The Whale was given intensive medication and was under observation when it died.

“The Whale already had a good appetite and was interacting with BFAR employees, so we had high hopes it would survive,” Licudine said.

Hours after the Whale died, a Rough-toothed Dolphin (Steno bredanensis) was found beached at the coastlines of Sto. Domingo town in Ilocos Sur province. Fishermen carried it toward the delta that leads into the sea.

The Dolphin was very weak but did not bear any visible injuries, said Randy Reburon, fishery coordinator of Sto. Domingo.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Dolphin that stranded at Santo Domingo was actually a Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris).

Photo: Dr. Samantha Licudine

The rescued Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) that stranded in Dasol, Pangasinan last Friday is doing better. She is now eating and is swimming around the rehab pool. Her buoyancy, however, is still not back to normal. PMMSN 1 headed by the team from BFAR region 1 is providing this animal the necessary medications and round-the-clock care.

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

Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) stranding in Pangasinan.

Source: Louie Beltran Abella Facebook, via Friends of PMMSN – Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network Facebook

The stranding at Sampalan, Pulau Nusa. Already handled by Coral Triangle Center and the local marine office.

Sources: Whale Strandings Indonesia Facebook, Whale Strandings Indonesia Database

This has been identified as a Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra).

(Edited: the carcass will be sent to an autopsy tomorrow).

A small (probably) Melon-headed Whale was found dead at the coast of Dahican beach at 17:30 on Feb 25, 2016.

Length: 153cm, approx weight: 30kg.

Its details were documented and the body was buried in the sand by Amihan Sa Dahican team.

Source: Makoto Barrow Facebook

A 1.53m Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) stranded dead at Dahican beach, Mati, Davao Oriental today. The carcass was buried.

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

The carcass of a sea creature found at Kampung Beting Lintang beach last Thursday has been identified as a Melon-headed Whale.

Malaysia: Carcass on Terengganu beach was of Melon-headed Whale
By Zarina Abdullah, 31st January 2016;

The carcass of a sea creature found at Kampung Beting Lintang beach last Thursday has been identified as a Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra).

State Fishery Department director Abdul Khalil Abdul Karim said their checks showed that the whale died in the ocean and had washed up on the beach following recent rough sea conditions.

The carcass was spotted on the beach by villagers.

“It was nearly decomposed, making it hard for our researchers to check,” he said when contacted.

Abdul Khalil said the animal carcass, measuring about 6.8 metres, was buried on Friday afternoon.

“It was learnt that the whale was moving with a pod but became separated, and it later died,” he said.

On Thursday, the State Fishery Department had dispatched a team of researchers to determine whether the animal carcass found at Kampung Beting Lintang beach was that of a whale.

The picture of the partly decomposed animal went viral after it was photographed on the beach near Kampung Beting Lintang.

Source: New Straits Times

6.8 metres seems awfully large for a Melon-headed Whale though, which typically reaches 3 metres in length. It’s likely that this is an error, and that it’s actually much smaller. Another possibility is that the carcass has been misidentified, although among the dolphins, only the Orca or Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) reaches such sizes; even the Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), the second-largest dolphin species in tropical waters of Southeast Asia, is not known to grow to such a size.

An animal carcass found at Kampung Beting Lintang beach, Terengganu.

Malaysia: Decomposed animal carcass perplexes local netizens
By Zarina Abdullah, 28th January 2016;

The State Fishery Department has despatched a team of researchers from the department’s head office to determine whether the animal carcass found at Kampung Beting Lintang beach this morning was a whale.

Its director Abdul Khalil Abdul Karim said the public alerted him about the incident at around 2.30pm and a team of researchers had been despatched to Besut 30 minutes later, to identify the species of the animal carcass.

“From my observation of the circulated picture, the carcass seems more similar to a dolphin rather than a whale. However, we have to wait for the report from our researchers before any confirmation can be made,” he said today.

The picture of the partly decomposed animal went viral after is was photographed on the beach near Kampung Beting Lintang today.

Source: New Straits Times

This is most likely one of the dolphins often known as ‘blackfish’; possibly a False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens), Pygmy Killer Whale (Feresa attenuata), Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) or young Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus). It’s difficult to conclusively determine the identity of the carcass without more photos from other angles.

Update: This carcass has been identified as a Melon-headed Whale, although cetacean experts have their reservations, since the shape of the head apparently does not match that of a Melon-headed Whale.