A veterinarian provides initial treatment to the injured Philippine Eagle.

Philippines: DENR chief lauds regional office for saving injured Eagle
By Jonathan L. Mayuga, 30th December 2017;

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu recently lauded the field personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Caraga Region Office for saving the life of an injured Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) in Tago town, Surigao del Sur province, on December 10.

The members of the DENR-Caraga enforcement division acted with dispatch and provided initial treatment to the raptor after receiving a report of the rescued Eagle’s condition.

The Philippine Eagle, the Philippines’ national bird, is the largest bird of prey in the world and it is endemic to the Philippines. It can be found in four major islands namely, Eastern Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.

The DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau believes there are less than 400 pairs of breeding Eagle left in the wild although there are recent reports of sightings of juvenile Eagles mostly in Mindanao.

Habitat loss, hunting for food and trophy and illegal wildlife trade are among the reasons for the species’ population decline.

The rescued Eagle was suffering from a broken wing, a potentially fatal injury, after when rescued by residents in the mountainous village of Anahao Daan, it was learned.

“This proves that the DENR personnel even in the local field offices are vigilant in caring and protecting our precious wildlife treasures, such as the Philippine Eagle,” Cimatu said in a statement. The Eagle is now being treated at the Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) in Davao City. The PEC is a conservation breeding facility operated by the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

DENR-Caraga Officer in Charge Director Charlie Fabre said the raptor was turned over to the PEC, a day after it was rescued.

He said the bird’s cartilage bone on its left wing had to be cut off “to save its life.”

According to Forester Modesto Lagumbay, chief of the local enforcement and wildlife division, residents found the 4-kilogram Eagle limping along the riverbank and turned it over to Barangay Chairman Datu Aralito Enriquez.

Enriquez brought the Eagle to Mayor Rogelio Pimentel, from whom the DENR team retrieved the raptor.

The wounded Eagle had to be brought fast to an Eagle sanctuary in Davao City, where the veterinarian had immediately performed a surgery on it, Lagumbay said.

“Most likely, the Eagle must have been caught from a snare and struggled to get free and wounded its wing in the process,” Lagumbay added. The Eagle, estimated to be around two years old, will be released once it has fully recovered from injury.

Source: Business Mirror

Photos: Gary Cabinta, via Peewee Bacuño Twitter

Philippines: Dugong found dead on Sarangani beach
By , 17th October 2017;

A lifeless Dugong (Dugong dugon) or sea cow was found on the beach in Glan, Sarangani on Tuesday morning.

According to GMA News’ stringer Peewee Bacuño, the Dugong was spotted along a coastal area in Sitio Nacolil, Barangay Lago at 5 a.m.

In March this year, a dead Dugong was also found in the province.

Residents of Barangay Kayupo in Kiamba town spotted the sea mammal, which weighed more than 500 kilograms.

Source: GMA News Online

Philippines: Young Dolphin tangled in anchor line dies
By Roxanne Arevalo, 21st April 2017;

A young Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus) died after its tail was entangled in an anchor line about 30 kilometers off Barangay Camague in Iligan.

Fisherman Tito Dimco said the Dolphin was playing near their fishing boat at midnight and got its tail caught in the anchor’s rope.

The Dolphin dragged the small seacraft as it swam around in an effort to free itself.

Dimco sailed back to shore at 6 a.m. with the weak Dolphin still tied to the rope.

It eventually died.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said the fishermen could’ve cut the rope but the Dolphin would still be tied down to the heavy anchor.

The Dolphin weighed 200 kilos and was eight feet long.

The City Agriculture Office estimated the Dolphin to have been two or three years old.

Source: ABS-CBN News

The cetacean in this incident has been misidentified; it’s a Risso’s Dolphin, not a Melon-headed Whale.

Photos: Reynan Catubig

An adult Dugong stranded dead in Barangay Kayupo, Kiamba, Sarangani Province yesterday.

Source: Peewee Bacuño Twitter

An Oarfish was found ashore in Barangay Rojales, Carmen, Agusan del Norte, on February 15.
Photo: Elesa Rosé Jane Allocod

Philippines: In the know: Can Oarfish predict earthquakes?
By Nicko Tubo, 20th February 2017;

Days before and after the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that devastated Surigao City and its nearby provinces, multiple sightings of giant Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) in Mindanao were reported.

On February 8, two days before the earthquake that killed eight people and injured more than 200, a 10-foot long Oarfish was found ashore in Carmen, Agusan del Norte, which is located approximately 168 kilometers away from Surigao City.

Since the first sighting, five more Oarfish were found ashore off Mindanao’s northern coast. The latest sighting was last February 18, when a 20-foot Oarfish was found in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City. The sea creature was still alive when found by the residents, but it died later.

The sightings have sparked debates and discussions on social media, on whether the sea creature can predict earthquakes.

But do Oarfish have the ability to predict earthquakes?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Oarfish are the longest bony fish in the sea, growing to 50 feet or more in length.

Oarfish, commonly mistaken as sea serpents, are rare but can be found in areas with tropical and temperate waters like the Philippines. The creature lives near the sea bottom at about 3,000 feet.

NOAA said that not much is known about the habits and life of Oarfish, but most of them come to the surface when injured or dying.

An article posted in National Geographic website said that Oarfish are known in Japan as the “Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace.” According to folklore, if many of the fish wash up, an earthquake is coming.

Kiyoshi Wadatsumi, a scientist who studies earthquakes, said in an article posted on Japan Times 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.”

In a 2010 report of the Daily Telegraph, the appearance of more than a dozen of Oarfish in Japan was followed by destructive earthquakes in Chile, Haiti, and southern Taiwan.

“In ancient times, Japanese people believed that fish warned of coming earthquakes, particularly catfish,” Hiroshi Tajihi, deputy director of the Kobe Earthquake Centre, said in the same report of the Daily Telegraph.

Tajihi, however, said there is no scientific relationship between the sightings and an earthquake.

“These are just old superstitions,” he said.

Rachel Grant, a lecturer in animal biology at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, said in an article posted on the Independent news website in October 2013 that the Japanese traditional belief might be true.

“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,” said Grant.

Grant, however, said that Oarfish sightings can also be caused by other factors not connected with earthquakes.

“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,” she said.

Experts have different perspectives, but as far as seismologists are concerned, more studies are needed to prove that Oarfish can predict earthquakes.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology also said there are no scientific instruments that can predict when an earthquake will occur.

Source: Sun.Star

Photos: Elesa Rosé Jane Allocod Facebook

Philippines: Another Oarfish washes up in the Philippines
By Sarah Keartes, 19th February 2017;

As residents in the Philippines recover from a recent powerful geological shakeup, some are turning to the sea for warning signs of what’s to come. A ten-foot (3.04m) Oarfish was found in Carmen in the province of Agusan Del Norte days before the quake, and less than a week later, another specimen was found by local fishermen. Could it be that these ‘sea serpents’ are seismic harbingers?

Oarfishes (typically in the genus Regalecus) tend to stick to deep water – up to 1,640 feet (500 metres) down – so it’s no surprise that each beaching event draws so much attention. Their strange appearance, from streamlined bodies to spiny fins, has also made them the perfect characters for lore and myth: in Japan, for example, the animals are known as “ messengers from the sea god’s palace”, and they’ve long been considered a bad earthquake omen.

So do these recent strandings corroborate such traditional beliefs? There could be some scientific basis here, but it’s also important to note that we don’t know much about the lives and ecology of these enigmatic creatures.

In an interview with the Japan Times, seismologist Kiyoshi Wadatsumi notes that deep-sea fish “are more sensitive to the movements of active faults than those near the surface of the sea” – so it’s possible that Oarfish and their deep-dwelling kin respond to tremors by heading top-side, where they eventually strand in shallow water.

But there are alternative explanations as well. Some speculate that the relationship between Oarfish and earthquakes has a middleman. Changing currents during storms and earthquakes may temporarily shift the distribution of Oarfish prey like plankton, crustaceans and squid, which might drive the rarely seen fish to the shallows.

Others suspect the connection is less complicated: since these animals are sensitive to stress, it’s possible they are easily damaged during big swells.

Whatever the cause, every Oarfish sighting is an interesting one, and the Philippines has seen several giants in recent years. In 2016, a 12-foot (4m) behemoth washed up in the province of Albay. That fish had a flesh wound on its head, and no earthquake was detected following the stranding.

Quake-prone California has become something of a hotspot, too. In 2013, scientists found an 18-footer (5.4m) on the shores of Catalina Island, and several months after that, two living Oarfish were seen in very shallow waters off the coast of Baja. The following year, this 14-foot Oarfish swam past Oceanside in seemingly good condition:

Could any of these California sightings have something to do with the state’s various fault lines? It’s an interesting possibility, but we can’t say with certainty just yet. As with the strandings of whales and other marine creatures, it’s likely that various factors play a part.

Source: EarthTouch

More photos of the Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) that was recently found at Cagayan de Oro.

Source: Carol Nabale Cañete Facebook