A team of rescuers and fishermen attend to a stranded Pygmy Sperm Whale found along the coastline of Sariaya, Quezon on Saturday.
Fishermen and rescuers transport the Pygmy Sperm Whale to a deeper portion of the sea in the town of Sariaya, Quezon province, after the Whale continued returning to shore after it was found wounded by fishermen.
Photos: Sariaya Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Facebook

Philippines: 100-kg Pygmy Sperm Whale washed ashore in Tayabas Bay
13th February 2016;

Fishermen here found a 100-kilogram Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps) stranded along the coastline of Tayabas Bay in Sariaya town in Quezon province early Saturday, local fishery officials said.

Raffy Gosas, team leader of Sariaya Fishery Law Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), said the Whale, which measures 2.13 meters (seven feet) was discovered in the shallow waters near the Villa Del Prado resort in Barangay (village) Bignay 1 at 5:30 a.m.

The FLETF rescue team treated the Whale’s bruises in its body, fins and tail.

“We believed that the Whale got entangled with a fishing net and escaped. That explained the bruises,” Gosas explained by telephone.

When the team ensured that the Whale was in good condition after an examination, the rescuers released the sea mammal to a deeper portion of the bay at 7:30 a.m.

However, the whale swam close to the fisherme’s boat and accompanied them until they reached the shore.

The group brought the Whale back to the bay aboard a motorized fishing boat and released it to a portion farther away than the first location.

“We thought that the Whale would swim back to the [deeper portion of the] sea but we were wrong,” Gosas said.

After a few minutes, he said his team received information that a Whale was found stranded in the neighboring village of San Roque. Upon checking, they learned that it was the same Pygmy Sperm Whale.

Gosas ordered the fishermen in the village to bring the Whale back to another portion of Tayabas Bay, farther than the first two locations where it was released earlier.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, on its website, said the Pygmy Sperm Whale is protected under the United States Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Gosas recognized the help of the fishermen, coastal villagers and beach resort operators in the protection of endangered marine species.

“They were all aware that catching and killing of endangered marine species is against the law and they have to be protected,” Gosas said.

Tayabas Bay off Quezon, Marinduque and Batangas provinces is also a sanctuary to endangered Sea Turtles, locally called “pawikan”.

The Sariaya coastline, host to many beach resorts and other tourist-oriented businesses, serves as a nesting ground for Turtles that usually come to lay and hatch their eggs from October to December.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

News flash: While three of our team is in Kupang for a stranding training, a cetacean stranded in Derawan Island, East Kalimantan. Looks very much like a Kogia. The local people had tried to release it, but it returned again. More news to come. Photos and news sent by Pak Ishak, BPSPL Balikpapan. Photo source by Rico Saputra.

Bad news: the Kogia died when the rescuers tried to relocate it into a local fish pond for observation. Total length 1.33 m, seems like a juvenile. When found, the Kogia already suffered wounds, which may have caused it to strand.

Source: Whale Strandings Indonesia Facebook

Based on the shape of the dorsal fin, it’s likely that this is a Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps).

A dead Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps) stranded in Barangay Dawan, Mati City, Davao Oriental this morning.

Source: Freddy Alan Uy Instagram, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Philippines: Death unnecessary
27th March 2015;

Death is a part of life but it doesn’t have to come early.

There are 83 known species of whales and dolphins worldwide. The Philippines has at least 27 of them. The Davao Gulf is blessed with at least 18 species. And yet most people on the street can’t tell the difference between a whale and dolphin, nor can they tell the names of 5 species found in the Gulf. In fact, they are commonly called ‘fish’ in the news and by the locals when caught in nets.

Whales and dolphins are mammals. They surface to breathe air, give live birth and actually produce milk for their babies and live in tight-knit groups called pods. They are not a danger to humans and have been known to help stranded sailors. They exist in our shadows and live in danger due to us. This is one such event.

D’Bone Collector Museum received a call from Banana Beach near Tagum City that there was a dead stranded whale. The museum team arrived at the site shortly after to recover the whale and determine the cause of death. It was found to be a 2.89 meter Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps). One of three species in the Sperm Whale family. The other would be the much larger Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) and the world’s smallest whale, the Dwarf Sperm Whale (Kogia sima). Very little is known about this species of whale and it is considered very rare. Most sightings are of dead ones. So the very fact the Davao Gulf has this species shows the richness in the gulf.

The Tagum City LGU and CENRO were on site to find out more about this rare animal. Through proper education the public can learn how these animals coexist with humans and how, if we are not careful, die as well.

A necropsy was performed (a necropsy is a procedure of examining a dead animal to determine the cause of death. An autopsy is a procedure performed on deceased humans to find out the exact cause of their death). As the stomach was opened, the whale was found to be very healthy with plenty of squid and shrimp remains. Parasites were also present, and in heavy amounts. This species of whale commonly has parasites. It could be from any number of reasons, from their food or a lower immune system due to coming in contact with waste from farm runoff into the Gulf.

The worst part came as the uterus was opened and the whale was found to be pregnant with a 60cm calf or baby whale. It was a moment of silence, not only for the museum team, the staff from the resort and LGU workers. It was realized that not just one whale had died but two. The loss was heavy for all who were there.

As the head area of the whale was opened it was found to be bruised and bleeding due to trauma before death. Bruising is caused when blood fills the area that has been hit or struck. Bruising happens before death, not after. The fact that this whale had bruising and was in healthy condition suggested it had been caught in a net and that the fishermen, fearing it was a shark or fearing damage to their nets as the whale thrashed in attempts to escape the net, hit it. Striking the whale repeatedly would cause the whale to struggle more until it would ultimately drown in the net. The fishermen, realising that a whale holds no commercial value as they are protected, would throw the whale back into the ocean, removing all evidence of their net and crime. The current would then carry the whale to the beach.

What does the death of these two whales bring? Loss of a little known whale. Loss of the genes she would have passed to her unborn baby and one less whale in the pod of already rare whales. We all lost something that day. The whales bones were brought to D’ Bone Collector Museum in Davao City to be used for education. The unborn baby will be what is called a wet specimen, suspended in a preservative to show the beauty and frailness of the unborn. Through their death, they will live on to educate and teach people the fragile and fleeting paradise we call the Davao Gulf.

No one rejoices when a whale dies but those of us at the D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc. will help them live on for our children.

Source: Mindanao Times

A 9.5 ft Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps). Upon necropsy, found to be pregnant. The mother had head trauma consistent with fishermen beating it as it struggled in the net. Realising it was not a shark, it was thrown back dead into the ocean. What a waste. Education is the key. It was not a targeted species and is protected.

Source: D’ Bone Collector Museum Facebook

12 January 2015 – C3 Philippines team was contacted by the MDRRMO after radio reports from Barangay New Busuanga about a Dugong (Dugong dugon) stranding. C3 responded and arrived on site to confirm that the stranding was not a Dugong but of cetacean family, Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps).

Thank you to the Sir Goodie Aguilar of MDRRMO and Barangay New Busuanga Barangay Council for your reports and for coordinating the stranding response with us.

Source: Community Centred Conservation (C3) Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines

A Pygmy Sperm Whale stranded last last January 12, 2015 in Busuanga, Palawan. The animal died a few hours after responders arrived. This is the second marine mammal stranding in the country reported this year.

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

(This is Part 2 of a 2-part photo set)

12 January 2015 – C3 Philippines team was contacted by the MDRRMO after radio reports from Barangay New Busuanga about a Dugong (Dugong dugon) stranding. C3 responded and arrived on site to confirm that the stranding was not a Dugong but of cetacean family, Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps).

Thank you to the Sir Goodie Aguilar of MDRRMO and Barangay New Busuanga Barangay Council for your reports and for coordinating the stranding response with us.

Source: Community Centred Conservation (C3) Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines

A Pygmy Sperm Whale stranded last last January 12, 2015 in Busuanga, Palawan. The animal died a few hours after responders arrived. This is the second marine mammal stranding in the country reported this year.

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

(This is Part 1 of a 2-part photo set)