Spinner Dolphin. Dr Evelyn Saberon inspects the Dolphin carcass found in coast of Libon, Albay for necropsy at the Regional Fisheries Health Management and Diagnostics Laboratory at Fabrica, Bula, Camarines Sur. Photo courtesy of BFAR.
Photo: BFAR

Philippines: Parasites, changing temperature cause Dolphin deaths in Bicol
‘Parasites or their eggs may be carried through human or animal feces dumped in the sea that fish and even the marine mammals may feed on,’ says Dr Evelyn Saberon of BFAR
By Rhaydz B. Barcia, 11th March 2017;

Parasites from sea creatures that can affect humans killed two Dolphins in Bicol, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Bicol reported here.

Dr Evelyn Saberon, BFAR veterinarian who conducted the necropsy of two stranded Dolphins, said she found thread-like worms in the stomach of the Dolphins found in Libon, Albay and Mercedes in Camarines Norte.

The Contracaecum parasite can also be found in humans.

Nonie Enolva, BFAR-Bicol Marine Fisheries Resources Management Section chief and spokesperson, said that a stranded adult female Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris), measuring 1.6 meters in length and weighing 43 kilograms, was brought in for necropsy at the Regional Fisheries Health Management and Diagnostics Laboratory of the BFAR regional office on March 4, 2017.

“The carcass was brought in by BFAR’s Fisheries Emergency Stranding Response Team personnel who were deployed immediately to the area after residents reported the Dolphin stranding on the same day,” Enolva said.

Spinner Dolphins are well known for acrobatic acts as they spin their bodies when they emerge from the water.

Enolva said this is the 3rd reported “marine mammal stranding” in Bicol that has resulted in death this year. This came less than a week after another Dolphin died in Mercedes despite rescue and release efforts last February 28, 2017.

After conducting a necropsy, Saberon found that the mammal had enteritis and its stomach and bladder were empty. This suggests that the animal had no food intake in the past few days prior to its death.

Petechial hemorrhaging (small red spots) was also detected in the animal’s intestines.

Contracaecum parasites – though not as severe as in the first Dolphin – also contributed to its death.

“The parasites were still alive. These parasites weakened the animal until its death,” Saberon said.

Temperature changes

Sudden changes in temperature also contributed to the stress of the Dolphin.

“The sudden changes in temperature contributed to the stress of the animal and that is why Dolphin stranding is more common in this part of the year,” Saberon added.

Saberon explained that some parasites found in marine mammals are zoonotic or can infest more than one species.

“Parasites or their eggs may be carried through human or animal feces dumped in the sea [that] fish and even the marine mammals may feed on,” she said.

Blood and tissue samples were taken from the animal to the Marine Mammal Research Stranding Laboratory in UP Diliman for their Project LepTox.

Project LepTox is a research effort to investigate the occurrence of leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by a certain parasite that also affects humans.

Megamouth Shark

It will be recalled that in January 2015, a male Megamouth Shark was also stranded and found in the coast of Pioduran, Albay.

The Shark was captured by 39-year-old Edgar Chavez – a fisherman from Barangay Marigondon in Pioduran, Albay – and his companions.

Enolva said the Megamouth Shark (scientific name: Megachasma pelagios) is also the 3rd biggest filter-feeding Shark. A Megamouth Shark is among the rarest species in the world, weighing one ton with a life span of 100 years.

The Megamouth Shark can reach a maximum length of 17 feet and resides in great depths or deep water. It rises to the surface at night to feed on plankton.

Enolva said the Megamouth Shark is not edible as it contains poisonous toxins – it can have bio-accumulation of heavy metals. Once eaten by humans, it could cause infertility and even cancer.

The Megamouth Shark underwent taxidermy (all organs of the specimen were removed and its skin soaked in formalin) and stuffing for museum display.

The Shark, through taxidermy, was preserved and displayed at the Albay Parks and Wildlife for scientific study, following the order of then Albay governor and now 2nd District Representative Joey Sarte Salceda.

In July 2010, a giant Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) that had started to decompose, was also washed ashore in the coastal town of Rapu-Rapu, Albay.

Source: Rappler

A Spinner Dolphin was found dead at Panagsama Beach in Moalboal on Friday morning.
Photo: Kristina Luz Uy Tapales

Philippines: Dead Dolphins found along Tañon Strait Protected Seascape
By Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, 17th February 2017;

Three Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris) were found dead, one off Panagsama Beach in Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal town and two in Barangay Montañeza in Malabuyoc, all along the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS).

Kristina Luz Uy Tapales, TSPS operations head of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7, said a tourist discovered the dead Dolphin at around 7 a.m. yesterday as he was waking along the shore at Panagsama beach.

“We still have to identify the cause of death because there are no wounds found,” Tapales told Cebu Daily News.

She also could not say if the strong waves could have caused its death, saying Dolphins are playful, good and fast swimmers.

The Spinner Dolphin found in Panagsama Beach weighed 46 kilograms and was 1.8 meters long. It was buried yesterday at the municipal cemetery.
TheSpinner Dolphin’s dorsal fin identified it as belonging to the Ronda pod in the town of Ronda, southwestern Cebu.

“In a pod there are 15 to 100 Dolphins found. Researchers were able to identify the dorsal fin of this dead Dolphin through photo,” Tapales said.

Meanwhile, in Barangay Montañeza, Malabuyoc, two juvenile Spinner Dolphins were also found dead Thursday afternoon, washed ashore by strong waves.

Erik Ybas, Environment & Natural Resources Officer of municipality of Malabuyoc said that local fishermen in Sitio Lala O, Barangay Motañeza tried to return the Dolphins to the sea but they later died because of wounds in their mouth.

“The fishermen failed to return them and noticed that there was blood coming from their mouths,” Ybas told Cebu Daily News.

He commended the local fishermen for trying to save the Dolphins.

“I appreciate them bisan pa sa aghat sa ubang tawo ipa karne pero wala buhata, (despite the proddings from people to eat the Dolphins, they did not do it). Really worth appreciating,” he added.

The two dead juvenile Dolphins were turned over to Municipal Agriculturist and buried in Municipal Cemetery.

Tapales explained that she could not identify which specific pod these two juvenile Dolphins belonged to since they have not seen their dorsal fins.

Tañon Strait is an important migration corridor that measures 518, 221 hectares or 161 kilometers long.

There are 14 species of sea mammals, 18,830 hectares of coral reefs and 5,000 hectares of mangrove area with 26 known mangrove species in the stretch.

Source: Cebu Daily News

Two juvenile Dolphins died after they were washed off by strong waves in the town of Malabuyoc.
Photo: Eric Ybas

Philippines: Juvenile Dolphins die after being washed ashore in Malabuyoc
By Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, 16th February 2017;

Two juvenile Dolphins died on Thursday afternoon in Barangay Motañeza, Malabuyoc, southern Cebu after they were washed ashore by strong waves.

Erik Ybas, OIC Environment and Natural Resources Office and Municipal Tourism Operations Officer of the Municipality of Malabuyoc said local fishermen in Sitio Lala O, Barangay Motañeza tried to return the Dolphins but later died because of wounds in their mouths.

“The fishermen tried to return them (to the sea) and noticed that there was blood coming out from its mouth,” Ybas told Cebu Daily News.

Ybas also commended the local fishermen for trying to save the Dolphins.

“I appreciate them bisan pa sa aghat sa ubang tawo ipa karne pero wala buhata worth appreciating jud (I appreciate them for trying to save the Dolphins despite other people urging them to just sell its meat),” he added.

The two juvenile Dolphins were turned over to the Municipal Agriculturist and was later buried in the Municipal Cemetery.

Source: Cebu Daily News

These appear to be Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris).

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

Photo: BIAG – Barangay Information & Activities Group

Philippines: Dead Sea Turtle found in La Union
By Carmela Jimenez, 3rd November 2016;

The carcass of an adult Olive Ridley Sea Turtle was found floating along the shore of Barangay Canaoay, San Fernando City in La Union Tuesday afternoon.

According to Rolando Cunanan, he was about to take a bath at the beach when he saw the Turtle.

Pagpunta ko doon, gumanon ‘yung alon, nakita ko pawikan. Nakita ko ulo, sabi ko, patay na ‘to kako,” he said.

(When I went there, I saw the turtle. When I saw its head, I knew it’s dead.)

The Turtle weighed between 35 to 45 kilograms. It also had a wound on its head.

The residents believe that the Turtle got entangled in fishing gear. They later buried the dead Turtle.

On October 31, a male Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris) was also washed up the shores in the same area. The residents tried to take it back to the water but it still died.

Based on the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network Database collated and analyzed by the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM) in the University of the Philippines Diliman, there were already 19 species of stranded cetaceans (Dolphins and Whales) recorded in Region 1.

Authorities told the public to handle marine mammals with caution. If in doubt, call authorities who have knowledge in rescuing stranded marine mammals.

Source: ABS-CBN News

The photo shared on the Barangay Information & Activities Group’s Facebook page, stated to be from Canaoay, shows that the one mentioned in the article is not an Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), but a Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).

Philippines: Whales and dolphins have own cemetery too

By Frank Peñones Jr., 25th October 2016;

Whales and Dolphins here are assigned their own graveyard too.

Dead sea mammals, which are collectively called cetaceans, have been allotted a burial place at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Freshwater Fisheries Center (RFFC) in Barangay Fabrica in Bula, Camarines Sur.

“We have so far a dozen cases of dead Whales and Dolphins found or stranded in the beaches of Bicol, so we thought of burying them properly, and that’s how the Cetacean Cemetery came to be,” Noni Enolva, spokesperson for BFAR, in Bicol said.

She added that a Dwarf Sperm Whale (Kogia sima) found in Ragay in April 2014 was the first cetacean to have been buried in the cemetery; while the latest were two Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris) found in Tinambac town in July this year.

Cetaceans are a widely distributed family of finned and carnivorous aquatic mammals, which include Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises.

Enolva said that when these dead mammals are found, they are brought to the RFFC for necropsy to determine the probable cause of their death by members of the Fisheries Regional Emergency Stranding Responding Team.

Some causes of death include ingestion of plastic and other solid wastes and acoustic trauma, a sensory hearing loss caused by dynamite explosions or seafloor drilling.

“They become deaf due to these explosions and eventually lose their equilibrium, so they drown. A deaf whale is a dead whale,” Enolva said.

Source: The Manila Times

Philippines: Whales and dolphins have own cemetery too

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