Another fish kill affects barangay residents in Negros Occidental

5th April 2017;

Another fish kill blighted Pontevedra in Negros Occidental over the weekend, a second in the town since the first in late February.

GMA News’ “Unang Balita” reported Wednesday that the second fish kill incident happened in a creek in Barangay Don Salvador Benedicto.

Last Saturday, barangay residents were surprised to see numerous dead fish floating in Tuburan Creek, GMA News stringer Erwin Nicavera said.

Residents immediately alerted local Fishery authorities to investigate the fish kill’s cause, noting that only last February the same incident occurred in a river traversing three other barangays in the town.

Bantay-Dagat members took water samples from the creek for laboratory test.

They noted that water analysis from the February fish kill have been delayed, and that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environment Management Bureau has yet to determine the cause.

Local officials in Don Mariano Benedicto are monitoring the creek’s situation, saying that the number of dead fish has not increased since Tuesday.

Residents feared the fish kill would affect their livelihood, the report said.

Source: GMA News Online

Another fish kill affects barangay residents in Negros Occidental

Photo: Bombo Radyo Bacolod Facebook

Philippines: DENR probes deaths of 15 Pangolins
20th March 2017;

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is conducting an investigation on the discovery of 15 dead Pangolins (Manis sp.) in Barangay 2, Bacolod City, on March 17, the DENR-Negros Island Region said in a statement Sunday.

According to the initial report of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro)-Bago City, a resident found the Pangolin carcasses wrapped in plastic bags around 10 a.m. on March 16.

The resident brought home one of carcasses to be cooked but when he learned that the act is illegal, he returned it to the place where it was found.

Technicians from the Cenro Conservation and Development Section proceeded to the location to verify the incident, with personnel of Bacolod City Police Station 2.

Inspection revealed that the scales of the mammals were removed.

The animals were brought to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office-Negros Occidental for tissue sampling.

The carcasses and tissue samples were then transported to a mortuary in Bago City for further analysis to determine the species of Pangolins and the cause of their death.

Pangolins and Anteaters are included under Appendix I of the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Source: Sun.Star

These are likely to be Philippine Pangolins (Manis culionensis) from Palawan, although they could also be Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica), a species not native to the Philippines.

SMUGGLED? At least 15 dead Pangolins are found in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental on March 18, 2017.
Photo: John Dale Salazar

Philippines: Dead Pangolins found in Negros Occidental
At least 15 frozen Pangolins with no internal organs are found at the roadside in Bacolod City
By Marchel P. Espina, 18th March 2017;

Residents of a reclaimed area in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental discovered a sack of dead Pangolins (Manis sp.) on Friday, March 17.

Pangolins, or Scaly Anteaters, are considered endangered species that are found in Palawan and other parts of the world.

They are said to be the most illegally traded animal in the world. The Independent reported that there are 8 species of Pangolin that are still in existence in India, China, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa.

The residents, who are not familiar with the mammals that usually inhabit forests and woodlands, claimed that the 15 Pangolins were frozen and had no internal organs when they were found at the roadside.

Al Orolfo, director of Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Negros Island Region, said the tissue of the Pangolins will be forwarded to DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau for DNA testing to determine if they came from Palawan or Malaysia.

In January, the Philippine Coast Guard intercepted a truck onboard MV St. Francis Xavier of 2GO, that carried smuggled marine species at Pier 4, North Harbor in Manila.

At least 7 boxes containing 60 Pangolins, 13 sacks of Seahorses (Hippocampus sp.), and one box of Sea Dragons (Pipefish) (SubF. Syngnathinae) were recovered in the 10-wheeler truck from Bacolod City.

Authorities, however, suspected that the truck originally came from Palawan.

Meanwhile, in Cauayan town, which is more than 3 hours away from Bacolod City, a dead Sea Turtle was washed ashore in Sitio Mabua in Barangay Poblacion on Thursday, March 16.

The Sea Turtle was already in a state of decomposition when it was discovered by the residents. It also had big cuts on its head and flippers.

Source: Rappler

These are likely to be Philippine Pangolins (Manis culionensis) from Palawan, although they could also be Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica), a species not native to the Philippines.

Photos: Bombo Radyo Bacolod Facebook

Philippines: Dead Pangolins found
18th March 2017;

Dead Pangolins (F. Manidae) were found on a roadside at the reclamation area in Bacolod City Friday, March 17.

Pangolins, also known as “Scaly Anteaters,” are burrowing mammals covered in tough, overlapping scales. They quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball to any potential predator.

They are victims of illegal wildlife crime mainly in Asia and in growing amounts in Africa and are considered one of the most endangered groups of mammals in the world.

Around 5 p.m. Friday, residents found the Pangolins with no internal organs wrapped in plastic bags and placed inside a sack.

Before the report reached the authorities, the Pangolins were frozen when found by a scrap-gatherer Thursday afternoon.

Due to fear, residents failed to report the incident immediately to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Al Orolfo, regional director of DENR in Negros Island Region (NIR), said in a radio interview that he already directed his personnel to proceed to the area and check the report for investigation.

Source: Sun.Star

These are likely to be Philippine Pangolins (Manis culionensis) from Palawan, although they could also be Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica), a species not native to the Philippines.

Yesterday morning, we found a Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris), 1.7m long and female, beached dead at the East Beach of Danjugan Island. I had to gather strength to respond, because I sometimes could get too emotional when being near marine mammals. The stranding response is to gather measurements and samples, and perform a necropsy to get further insight into the cause of death. Data gathered could support studies on the causes of stranding or other mortalities in cetaceans or marine mammals. I am quite relieved that we didn’t find any indication that the poor Dolphin died due to plastic trash ingestion or fishing gear entanglement – which have become increasingly common causes of stranding. Photos were taken during the necropsy for reporting, and thought I would post just these two for public awareness and education. Thank you very much to Dr. AA Yaptinchay of Marine Wildlife Watch Philippines, Dr. Ari Barcelona, and Kaila Ledesma for the guidance.

Source: Dave Gumban Albao Instagram

A female Spinner Dolphin, 1.7m long, beached dead at the East Beach of Danjugan Island in Negros Occidental yesterday. The animal was examined then buried.

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

A dead marine Turtle (F. Cheloniidae) stranded in Villa Consing, Brgy Zone 4 in Cadiz, Negros Occidental last 16 January.

Source: Aksyon Radyo Bacolod Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

The carcass was identified in Sun.Star as an Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea).

Photo: Aksyon Radyo Bacolod Facebook

Philippines: Dead Sea Turtle found in Cadiz
By Marchel P. Espina, 17th January 2017;

A dead Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) has been washed ashore in Cadiz City in Negros Occidental Monday morning.

Edgardo Rostata, chief of Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Cadiz City, said the Sea Turtle, locally known as “pawikan”, was found by a resident at Purok Villa Consing in Barangay Zone 4 around 7:30 a.m.

He said they have yet to determine how the Sea Turtle died, adding that it was already in a state of decomposition when it was found.

It was then buried near the area by personnel of the City Agriculture Office, he said.

The Sea Turtle was also injured on its left fin, Rostata said.

He said the endangered animal, which has a width of 64 centimeter, could have been dead for two days already before it washed ashore.

No markings were found on the animal.

Investigation of the incident is still ongoing, Rostata said.

Source: Sun.Star

A dead 1.05 meter Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) calf stranded in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental this morning.

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

This is the saddest but most moving interaction I ever had with a marine mammal. Last Saturday, we responded to a call for 2 stranded cetaceans (initially reported as Dolphins). When we got to the site, it was already dark and only one was left behind, a Dwarf Sperm Whale (male calf) (Kogia sima). His body had a bite from a Cookiecutter Shark (Isistius brasiliensis), and lesions from corals and rocks. I was on the phone consulting friends who have experiences with marine mammal rescue, and our goal was for it to swim back out to sea. 2 hours later under the stars and glowing plankton in the water, we bid him farewell, hoping he would not come back to shore, that he would heal and find his mom. I was sad because he’s only a calf, and he may not survive if not reunited with his mother. Noon the next day, we received a call again from the village and rushed to the same site. The Whale was back, swimming weak and with more lesions and wounds. When my friends John and Ledrolen (who were with me in the water the night before) waded into the water, the Whale swam towards them as if asking for help. Our hearts were being crushed, not knowing if he will still survive. But we knew he was fighting to live. It was so powerful, how a marine mammal like that can communicate to us humans through their eyes, breathing, heartbeat and body movement. We hoped we could just bring him to a hospital and treat his wounds. One thing that Doc Ari told us to do early on during the response was to talk to the Whale. We were whispering to him with sincere love and encouragement. It may have been silly but it made sense to us. We named him Jafi to honor his personality and to remember him as a friend. Jafi didn’t make it, but we wish to commemorate him by committing to care for all our fellow Earthlings.

Thanks to Bianca and Kaila for the phone support during the response, colleagues in BFAR and Cauayan MAO for coordinating, and to Elenuel Genova of CHMSC for reporting the stranding. I didn’t want to post Jafi’s post-mortem photos for the measurements and all, so if you need those and stranding data, please contact me.

Source: Dave Gumban Albao Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Just a calf, this Dwarf Sperm Whale (Kogia sima) stranded last Saturday at Masaling, Cauayan (about 20km away from Danjugan Island). He had a shark bite, and other wounds possibly from coral or rocks when he beached. We responded upon request of a friend from BFAR, with the help of marine mammal stranding consultants Ari, Bianca and Kaila on the phone. My friends John and Len spent hours on the water with me, as we tried to help the whale swim back to sea. He was able to swim away Saturday night, but got back to shore at noon the next day and we rushed again to the site. He was fighting to survive but eventually lost. Our hearts go with Jafi; we named him because we feel we’ve emotionally connected to him. Now that I’m typing a report about it, I couldn’t help but remember how we were once whispering to Jafi that everything’s going to be alright.

Source: Dave Albao Instagram