Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Cash reward dangled for info on Turtle killer
By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon & Le Phyllis F. Antojado, 2nd December 2017;

A P50,000 cash reward has been dangled by Moalboal Mayor Inocentes Cabaron for anyone who can give information on the whereabouts of the individual who killed an endangered Green Sea Turtle.

“We are offering P50,000 to any person who could give the information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or persons involved,” Cabaron said in a text message to Capitol reporters.

The Turtle’s dead body was found on the shores of Barangay Basdiot in Moalboal town, southern Cebu Wednesday morning. A spear gun, a fishing gear banned in the town, wound was found on the dead Turtle’s neck.

The dead Turtle was turned over to the Provincial Environmental and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) for further investigation. It measured 60 centimeters in length and 30-60 in weight.

Based on initial observation, Romel Kirit, PENRO senior environmental specialist, said the Turtle had been dead for at least a day before it was found by the locals. The PENRO is now coordinating with the local government of Moalboal to trace the culprit/s behind the Turtle’s death.

The Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

Under Republic Act 9147, harming and killing endangered animals, including the pawikan, is punishable by law. Those who kill a Sea Turtle or any wildlife species listed as critically endangered species shall be imprisoned for six to 12 years and is mandated to pay a fine of P100,000 to P1,000,000.

On his Facebook page, Kalle Epp, claimed they found a dead Green Sea Turtle on a coral reef near a resort in Moalboal.

Epp, who expressed outrage over the killing, has appealed to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities in Moalboal.

“The Turtle killed is one of the Green Sea Turtles which are a major tourist attraction, protected by national and local laws. We appeal to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities and senseless slaughtering of protected marine life for sport in Moalboal” reads part of his post. Epp also reported to authorities the alleged increasing number of people, local and foreign, who engage into spear gun hunting.


Greenpeace Philippines has lauded the efforts of various sectors in raising the alarm on the “gross killing” of the Sea Turtle in Moalboal, a dive spot in Cebu province known for its rich marine life.

“It is condemnable that some people are trying to kill the very thing that maintains the health of the ocean including the one that brings in additional income to various sector in the municipality,” said Vince Cinches, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace.

He urged the communities to protect the Green Sea Turtles and other wildlife species as they play a critical role in promoting ecological balance and enhancing biological diversity. Cinches urged the local government to come up with clear steps to prevent such “gruesome” incidents in the future by regulating activities in the area, including but not limited to spearfishing and recreational fishing.

Also, restrictions to some activities, including expansion of fishing gear registration, he said.

“We also would like to suggest to and request from the municipality to increase enforcement capacity and to allocate needed resources to inform the public on activities that are allowed in the area,” he said.

To monitor the entire town, he said a multi-stakeholder or sector be constituted to help achieve the objective of protecting the waters of town and the rest of Tañon Strait.

“Moalboal is such an abundant destination both for local and foreign visitors, and hopefully others in the future can enjoy it,” he said.

Tañon Strait is restricted from commercial fishing to protect and conserve marine resources. It is a 161-kilometer strip dividing the provinces of Cebu and Negros Island. The strait is one of the largest and most productive Marine Protected Areas in the country, hosting 63 percent of the country’s coral species and 14 types of Whales and Dolphins. It also provides food and livelihood for 42 towns, cities and municipalities

Source: The Freeman

Residents gather around a 38-foot juvenile Sperm Whale, which washed ashore on Samal Island in Davao del Norte over the weekend. A Bureau of Fisheries necropsy report said the Whale died from ingesting toxic materials, many of which were found in the mammal’s stomach such as plastic products, fish hooks, rope and steel wires.
Photos: Dean Ortiz

Philippines: BFAR: Plastic, steel wires killed whale in Samal
By Edith Regalado, 20th December 2016;

Garbage and toxins were found inside the stomach of a 38-foot juvenile Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) that was beached offshore in the Island Garden City of Samal over the weekend.

A backhoe had to be used to pull its carcass to the shore of Barangay Miranda, Babak district.

Based on experts’ estimate, the Whale may possibly have been seven years old or more.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said in its necropsy report that various toxic foreign contents were found inside the stomach of the distressed mammal such as plastic, fish net and hooks, a piece of hard wood with nail, rope and steel wire – all ultimately causing its premature death.

It added that the Whale’s stomach also contained fish eyes, fish bones and cartilage, different sizes of squid beaks and numerous stomach worms.

Darrell Dean Blatchley, cetacean expert and proprietor of D’ Bone Collector Museum, said the cause of death must have been internal due to the lack of evident physical injuries.

He added that the Davao Gulf is host to at least 18 of 27 species of Whales seen in the country.

Blatchley’s museum actually houses 53 of the total 58 Whale skeletons that he has preserved through the years.

“Among the 53 Whales and Dolphins recovered in the last seven years in Davao Gulf, only four died due to natural causes. The rest of them died because of plastic waste, were caught by nets or killed through dynamite fishing or were unable to feed in the sea. A majority of them died because of humans,” Blatchley said.

The dead Whale had to be deboned and transported to a sanitary landfill where its remains will be buried./p>

DNA samples were taken from the Whale and turned over to the BFAR for further study by experts, while the skeleton will be brought to a museum in Davao for cleaning and processing.

“Then it will be sent back to Samal where it will be placed in an education center so people will have a view of the kind of animals they could encounter around Samal and the Davao Gulf,” Blatchley said.

He added that it would also teach people of the need to “take care of our environment.”

The preserved remains of the Whale will be the largest on display in the country, he also said.

Source: The Philippine Star

Photo: Nonie Evolva Facebook

Philippines: Fish kill damage reaches P100 M
By Louise Maureen Simeon, 21st October 2016;

Losses due to the fish kill in Lake Buhi in Camarines Sur have reached P100 million, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said yesterday.

“Damaged Tilapia may reach 100 metric tons,” said Nonie Enolva, BFAR-Bicol chief.

Enolva said earlier reports that losses have reached P178 million are premature, noting that they are still collating information from concerned local government units.

The BFAR regional office said restocking of fish cages should be suspended until it has been determined that the lake is favorable for fish culture.

The agency also called for the cleaning of sediments and clearing of Water Hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes) to improve water circulation.

BFAR said it would set a limit on the number of fish cages to be installed per operator and enforce compliance with reportorial requirements on production as well as stricter ecological solid waste management.

Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) fingerlings will be provided to affected fish pen operators, it added.

Enolva said the fish kill occurred after Typhoon Karen generated inland waves that caused the upwelling of Lake Buhi.

Examination conducted by BFAR showed a compromised level of dissolved oxygen ranging from sub-lethal to normal.

Source: The Philippine Star

Philippines: Philippine Eagle ‘Matatag’ survives third shooting

By Edith Regalado, 26th February 2016;

Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) Matatag is proving to be true to its name as it recovers from a .22-caliber bullet wound it suffered last Sunday in Barangay Tambobong, Baguio District here.

Tiborcio Aparesio, who claimed responsibility for the incident, brought the wounded giant raptor to the Malagos Eagle Center for treatment. But, on Monday, his claim was belied by his brother Rolando, who also said he was the one who shot the Eagle.

Depending on how the word matatag is used, it could mean to stand firm, to be stable, steadfast or dependable.

Matatag was first brought to the Philippine Eagle Center in Barangay Malagos, Calinan District for rehabilitation four years ago. He was only about a year old then.

Experts then diagnosed Matatag as having anemia and described him as thin, nearly all of his flight feathers gone and in a “pitifully sickly state.”

He recuperated and rehabilitated for three years before he was released back to the wild on Dec. 15, 2014 at the ancestral forest of the indigenous Obu Manuvu tribe here.

The giant raptor was fitted with a radio VHF transmitter for tracking purposes and was observed to have been doing well in the wild until last Sunday when he was brought back to the center.

Carlos Dominguez, Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) chairman, said Matatag is responding well to medication but was alarmed with what happened.

He stressed that there are now only less than 500 pairs of Philippine Eagles, including the 34 kept at the Malagos center and those sighted in the wild in the forests of Mindanao, Samar, Leyte and the Cordilleras.

PEF executive director Dennis Salvador said the incident underscores the continuing decline in the endangered Eagle population even in the most protected territories.

He called on Filipinos to be more involved in the protection of Philippine raptors, saying, “We cannot be complacent – that the protection of our national bird cannot be left to our forest guards but should be the responsibility of everyone.”

Joshua Donato, PEF senior field biologist, established the raptor’s identity after checking on the bird’s leg band while resident veterinarian Anna Lascano immediately performed treatment.

It appeared that Matatag fractured his right wing after the x-ray showed scattered pieces of bones and shrapnel.

Donato charged the Aparesio brothers, who are detained at the Baguio police station, for violating Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

Source: The Philippine Star

Philippines: Philippine Eagle ‘Matatag’ survives third shooting

Residents gather near a 24-foot butanding or Whale Shark, which was found dead on the shore of Barangay Pamosaingan in Socorro, Surigao del Norte last Jan. 1.

Philippines: Whale Shark found dead in Surigao del Norte
By Ben Serrano, 5th January 2016;

A 24-foot Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) was found dead along the seashore in Barangay Pamosaingan in Socorro town, Surigao del Norte on New Year’s Day, local officials said.

Locally known as butanding, the Whale Shark got entangled in a fishnet off the coast of Pamosaingan.

Barangay captain Felipa Liquido said the Whale Shark was already dead when the owners of the fishnet, Pacquito Tatoy and his wife, saw it lying on the beach.

The couple then sought the help of fishermen to drag the Whale Shark ashore.

The provincial government sent a team to bury the Whale Shark. It was buried yesterday in Socorro town.

Source: The Philippine Star

A member of the Philippine Coast Guard paddles near dead fish found floating by the breakwater in Manila Bay yesterday.

Philippines: Fish kill discovered near Manila Bay breakwater
By Evelyn Macairan, 17th February 2015;

Oxygen depletion in the waters near the Manila Yacht Club may have caused a fish kill yesterday morning, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Dozens of dead Mullet fish (F. Mugilidae) were seen floating in Manila Bay near the breakwater at dawn, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.

Dissolved oxygen levels from three sampling stations were at 1.2, “way below the normal oxygen level of five (and above)… to be able to sustain marine life,” according to the BFAR’s initial report.

“Apparently, the water quality in the Manila Yacht Club breakwater is polluted due to stagnation, hence the cause of the fish kill,” the PCG added.

The PCG said there had been no chemical or oil spills that could cause the fish kill.

Source: The Philippine Star

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

Fishermen gather dead fish in Maalimango River yesterday.
Fishermen gather dead fish floating in the coastal bay of Bagbag Dos, Ligtong Rosario, in Cavite.
Photos by Edd Gumban

Philippines: Fish kill hits Cavite river
By Ed Amoroso, 27th September 2014;

At least two tons of Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) and bangus (Milkfish) (Chanos chanos) were found floating along the banks of Maalimango River in Rosario, Cavite, an official said yesterday.

Rosario Mayor Jose Nonong Ricafrente said they were still waiting for the results of fish and water sampling tests by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

He said they were verifying reports that chemicals from factories near the river caused the fish kill. There are at least 300 factories and establishments near Maalimango River.

Ricafrente said he would order the closure of any establishment found to be dumping chemical waste into the river.

Workers buried the dead fish hauled from the river yesterday in a vacant lot.

Source: The Philippine Star and The Philippine Star Facebook

News reports from other sources mention mullets (F. Mugilidae) instead of Milkfish as being among the main victims of this mass mortality event. Based on the photos, it appears that at least one Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) was also a victim.

Philippines: Search for Philippine Eagle killer: DENR asks Philippine National Police help

By Edith Regalado, 26th August 2014;

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is seeking police assistance in tracking down the killer of a breeding adult female Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) that was shot on Mt. Apo in Davao over a week ago.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje directed regional officers to help in the search for the killer.

The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) said the death of the mother eagle has left its seven-month-old eaglet fending for itself.

Jayson Ybañez, PEF research and conservation division head, told The STAR that the bird was tagged with radio and satellite GPS transmitters. It was released last April 9 in Barangay Sibulan.

Mt. Apo encompasses Davao City and the provinces of Davao del Sur, North Cotabato and Bukidnon. Its peak can be reached through the trails established in those areas.

DENR officials have sought police assistance to determine who shot the giant raptor.

Ybañez reported that the GPS satellite transmitter attached to the eagle showed that something happened to the bird.

“Based on the GPS readings on Aug 11, we saw satellite readings clustered in an area at the base of Mt Apo, which was unusual,” Ybañez said.

A monitoring group composed of PEF biologists and indigenous Bagobo Tagabawa volunteer forest guards went to the area to track down the eagle on Aug. 14.

“The signals were in mortality mode. This normally happens when the radio unit is not moving, indicating either the transmitters fell out of the bird, or the bird itself died,” he said.

After nearly an hour, the group saw the “skeletonized carcass” of the eagle.

Ybañez said the bird apparently fell head first based on the position of its skeleton, with the left wing still hanging onto the ferns.

PEF veterinarian Ana Lascano inspected the bird and found it to have a crack in its keel bone.

“We are entertaining the possibility that the puncture was caused by a bullet, but we have yet to consult a ballistic expert to find out whether the puncture is caused by a bullet,” Lascano said.

Ybañez said a few days after the GPS satellite was tagged on the eagle, it was seen delivering a bat as food to her eaglet at the nest.

PEF executive director Dennis Salvador said the death of the adult eagle “is doubly unfortunate because it is also left motherless her seven-month old baby back at the nesting site in Sibulan.”

“With this, the job of feeding the young rests on the male eagle,” Salvador said.

He said they are monitoring the progress of the young eaglet, also equipped with a GPS satellite unit for monitoring.

“But as of the latest feedback last Saturday, the young has been begging noisily for food and has not been fed by the male since last Aug. 17. We have organized a supplemental feeding initiative with the Regional Eagle Watch Team of DENR Region XI and the Lumad forest guards and active provisions of food will begin next week to prevent the bird from dying from starvation,” Salvador said.

The death of the mother eagle is the second case this year. The first breeding female died on Mt. Kitanglad, Bukidnon.

The first was accidentally strangled to death by a native noose trap intended for wild pig and deer. It was caught by the noose while walking on the ground in search for food.

The monitoring of the adult eagles at Mt. Apo is possible through a grant from the Peregrine Fund, Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the DENR.

Source: The Philippine Star

Philippines: Search for Philippine Eagle killer: DENR asks Philippine National Police help

Philippines: Sulphur upwelling triggers fish kill in Taal Lake

By Czeriza Valencia & Arnell Ozaeta, 22nd January 2014;

Sulphur upwelling in Taal Lake has caused fish kill in four barangays in Talisay, Batangas late last week, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Various fish species were found “gasping for air” along the shoreline on the night of Jan. 16. The following day, a blue-green discoloration of water was observed in the barangays of Aya, Quiling, Tumaway, and Sampaloc.

BFAR has been monitoring the phenomenon since 2000. Sulfur upwelling in Taal Lake usually occurs from November to February when the northeast wind disturbs the sediments in the lake, resulting in the upwelling of hydrogen sulphide, a poisonous gas.

Of the 2,000 fish cages in Talisay, 51 were affected. Production losses were placed at 70 tons for bangus (Milkfish) (Chanos chanos) and 50 tons for Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) – valued at P10.5 million.

BFAR Director Asis Perez said fish cage owners and operators had been informed beforehand of the possible occurrence of sulphur upwelling during the cold months.

He said fish cage operators were advised to conduct emergency harvest of marketable sizes of Tilapia and bangus.

Water pumps were also issued to fish cage operators to increase the dissolved oxygen level, which was deemed critical based on the water monitoring report, he said.

To ensure that the dead fish would not be marketed, members of Taal Lake Aquaculture Alliance Inc., Task Force Taal Lake, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the local governments concerned, and the BFAR have been monitoring and supervising their proper disposal.

Source: The Philippine Star

Philippines: Sulphur upwelling triggers fish kill in Taal Lake