Photos: Ginatilan Police Station, via SunStar Cebu Facebook

Philippines: Sea Turtle found dead in Ginatilan
12th December 2017;

A Sea Turtle, about 60 years old, was found dead on Monday morning, December 11, in the seawaters off Barangay San Roque, Ginatilan, Cebu.

Municipal Environment and Natural Resources officer John Rosen Ferraren said the Turtle either died of old age or it was hit by a disease.

He said the Turtle, which weighed more than 100 kilos, may have been dead for several days.

The Turtle’s length is a little over 100 centimeters and nearly a meter in diameter.

Police are looking into the possibility that the marine mammal was killed by a poacher.

Fishermen who retrieved the turtle found a rope tied around its neck. The front right and rear flippers were missing, while the internal organs were rotten.

Baho na kaayo ang pawikan,” Ferraren said in a phone interview.

They buried the Turtle in a lot in San Roque rented by the Municipal Government.

Ferraren said Turtles often frequent their marine sanctuaries of San Roque and Poblacion.

He said they often remind fisherfolk not to catch endangered species and the municipal personnel conduct regular inspection in the market.

Source: Sun.Star Cebu

This is likely to be a Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas).

Spear gun victim. A Sea Turtle lies dead on the shores of Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu.
Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: DENR-Central Visayas to probe sea turtle death
30th November 2017;

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Central Visayas is set to investigate an incident in Moalboal town wherein a pawikan or Sea Turtle was found dead on the town’s shores earlier this week.

Dr. Eddie Llamedo, DENR-Central Visayas public information officer, told SunStar Cebu that they have tasked the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS) to investigate who the culprits are behind the killing of the turtle in Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal.

On his Facebook page, Kalle Epp, a netizen, claimed they found a dead Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) in a coral reef in Sitio Tongo, Barangay Basdiot earlier this week.

A spear gun wound was found on the dead Turtle’s neck.

“We are outraged! Since several weeks we have seen an increase in people, local and foreign, coming to Moalboal for spear gun hunting as a sport and reported this to authorities,” Epp said, in his post.

Epp has appealed to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities in Moalboal.

Cirilo Tapales, Barangay Basdiot chief, told SunStar Cebu that the dead pawikan has been turned over to the town’s tourist police.

Tapales believes that fishermen from other barangays may have speared the Turtle at night to avoid detection.

Tapales said spear hunting is illegal in Moalboal.

Llamedo said hunting Sea Turtle especially within marine protected areas like the Tañon Strait is illegal, according to Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.

A fisherman caught violating RA 9147 could spend jail time of up to 10 years or pay a fine of P500,000 for each Sea Turtle that he or she kills.

Llamedo also reminded the municipal government of Moalboal to boost up its monitoring activities on their coastal waters to avoid such incidents.

Sea Turtles are considered critically endangered under the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“The presence of a pawikan is a sign of having a healthy marine ecosystem and we need people and fishers who take care of them while they travel for forage or nourishment,” Llamedo added.

Source: Sun.Star

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.

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.

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

Another dead Oarfish washed ashore in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City.
Photo: Jude Cyril Roque Viernes

Philippines: 6th dead Oarfish found in Cagayan de Oro

By Pia Noreen Bilar & Pamela Jay F. Orias, 19th February 2017;

A 20-foot long Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was found in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, around 4 p.m., Saturday, February 18, three days after the fifth sea creature was seen off the coast of Agusan del Norte.

According to Marlo Tabac, Gusa barangay chairman, the elongated fish was still alive when found by residents but later died.

Netizen Clark Ian Richardson, meanwhile, posted a video of Oarfish, barely breathing, being surrounded by people.

Jude Cyril Roque Viernes also posted on Facebook photos of the dead fish.

Tabac said the fish had numerous cuts in its body when found .

Oarfishes are large, elongated fishes which dwell at a depth of 200 to 1000 meters (660 to 3300 feet). It is the longest bony fish alive, growing to up to 11 meters (36 feet) in length.

This is the sixth Oarfish found dead in the Philippines from January this year.

On February 15, a 10-foot long dead sea-serpent washed off the shore of Barangay Rojales, Agusan del Norte.

The first Oarfish, which was 10-foot long, was found on February 8, two days before the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that hit Surigao City.

It is said that in Japan, the Oarfish is known as a “messenger from the Sea God’s Palace.”

Photos of dead Oarfishes have sparked debates over the internet, as some said the fish have been known to forecast earthquakes.

Renato Solidum Jr., director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology told SunStar Philippines that the probability of another strong earthquake is low but the agency is not disregarding it.

Source: Sun.Star

Residents hold the dead Oarfish that was found off the coast of Agusan del Norte on Wednesday, February 15.
Photo: Elesa Rosé Jane Allocod Facebook

Philippines: Another Oarfish found in Agusan del Norte
15th February 2017;

Another Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was found Wednesday, February 15, in Carmen, Agusan del Norte, a week after fishermen caught a 10-foot long dead sea serpent off the coast of the same town.

Netizen Elesa Jane Allocod posted on her Facebook account photos of the giant sea creature that was found off the coast in Barangay Rojales.

The first Oarfish, which was 10-foot long, was found on February 8, two days before the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that hit Surigao City.

Photos of dead Oarfishes have sparked debates over the Internet, as some said the fish can predict earthquakes.

The discovery also sparked discussions on social media.

According to the National Geographic’s article, 5 Surprising Facts About the Oarfish That Has Been Washing Up on Beaches, Oarfishes have been known to forecast earthquakes.

The article quoted Kiyoshi Wadatsumi, a scientist who studies earthquakes at e-PISCO, as saying that deep-sea creatures living near the sea bottom are more sensitive to movements of active faults.

The Surigao quake last February 10 left eight people dead and injured more than 200 others. Authorities pegged the damage at almost P700 million.

The last major earthquake to hit Surigao was in 1879, with a magnitude of 7.4, according to Renato Solidum Jr., director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Solidum told SunStar Philippines that the probability of another strong earthquake is low but the agency is not discounting it.

Source: Sun.Star