Rescuers examine the carcass of a 9.5-meter female Sperm Whale which died last Monday after getting stranded along the shoreline of a marine protected area in Barangay Lingsat, San Fernando City, La Union.
Photo by Vic Alhambra Jr.
Philippines: Whale dies at La Union sanctuary
By Vic Alhambra Jr. and Jun Elias, 15th October 2014;
Authorities tried but failed to save a Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) found wounded at a marine protected area here Monday.
The whale died from injuries it suffered apparently from rocks off Barangay Lingsat’s marine sanctuary.
Fishermen said they earlier saw the whale swimming off the nearby village of San Juan.
“It was swimming south and looked unhurt. We were surprised to find it ashore when we got home,” said Winnie Garcia, who first saw the whale as she and her husband were sailing.
Garcia said they were afraid to go near the mammal, thinking it was a monster, particularly when it discharged water from its spout.
The whale, which was estimated to weigh more than 10 tons, died at about noon, three hours after it was found wounded near the shore.
About 20 maritime students and personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard tried to remove the whale from the water but failed.
Rescuers from the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council had to use a payloader to bury the whale at around 7 p.m.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) estimated the whale to be 10 meters long.
It had a wound that looked like it was caused by a bullet.
“It was not a bullet wound, but a bite of a Cookiecutter Shark (Isistius brasiliensis),” Henry Canlas, officer-in-charge of the BFAR’s marine and fisheries section, told The STAR.
Canlas said Sperm Whales tend to swim ashore when they are sick in order to get some air. He said this usually causes whales to die due to their weight, as they cannot carry their body back to the deep. “That’s when they get stranded,” he said.
Samantha Licudine of BFAR said cetaceans like the Sperm Whale usually feel weak when they are sick or bitten by predators.
Source: The Philippine Star