Photo: Dr. Christopher Luyong

An adult female Dwarf Sperm Whale (Kogia sima) stranded in Manicahan, Zamboanga City two days ago (November 21). This animal died a few hours later.

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

Photos: Christopher Luyong

A young Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata) stranded in Zamboanga City this morning. The Dolphin was released but restranded. PMMSN Zamboanga City led by the City Veterinary Office is taking charge of the rehab efforts.

Update: This Dolphin was released this afternoon. The coastal community in the area were advised to look out for a possible restranding of this individual.

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

An Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) stranded/was caught in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte last 29 March.

Source: Arcel Aguilar Arsula Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Photos: Christopher Luyong Facebook [1], [2] & DENRIX RPAO Facebook

It is with deep regret that we announce the death of the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) Maamo last October 25, 2015 at around 1:30 PM, two months after its rescue and subsequent surgery and rehabilitation.

The Maamo Team has started investigations to determine cause of death but preliminary findings have already ruled out speculations that death was caused by complications due to chest wound as physical indicators show that Maamo’s chest abrasions are minor and superficial.

Source: DENRIX RPAO Facebook

This critically endangered juvenile Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is under observation after it was found just floating near Paseo del Mar by some local kids. It has few superficial wounds and the hind flippers are not intact after maybe trapped in a fish net. I don’t know, but maybe, its stranding is on perfect timing as it will occupy the tank of our soon-to-be-released juvenile Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) patient. But what is good is that, people, especially those residing near the coastal line, now begin to realize that biodiversity is fundamental to life on earth.

I need some help docs Irmachelle Pastor Arnoco and Rita Leonila Pepito Taclob. But seriously, when will this Turtle fever end?

Source: Christopher Luyong Facebook

Philippines: ‘Maamo’ has recovered, transferred to Santa Cruz

By Vic Larato, 12th October 2015;

After weeks of medication and treatment, Maamo, the wounded Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) has significantly recovered and has been transferred to a lagoon in the Great Santa Cruz Island Thursday, Oct. 8.

Maamo, a vernacular word for tamed, underwent a series of treatments and surgical operations due to wounds in the head by a neuro-surgeon, Dr. Gaudencio Ligutom, at the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST). Maamo was rescued last Aug. 24 in Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay.

City Environment and Natural Resources Officer BenAcana in a report prepared by the “Maamo Watch Team” said the marine turtle was rescued off the shore of Naga by elements of the Philippine Coast Guard.

A medical examination by the Provincial Veterinarian Office showed that “Maamo” sustained severe gunshot wounds and possible fracture in the head, resulting in severe weakness and health deterioration. The wound was decomposing and possibly infected.

The initial option was, if  “Maamo’s” medical condition worsened and its survival was extremely unlikely, euthanasia or mercy killing was to be administered on the marine reptile.

The reptile was subjected to an X-ray examination, which showed that it was free of head fractures. Thus, chances of its survival were high, but it had to be transferred to Zamboanga City for a series of treatments and even surgery.

On Aug. 25, “Maamo” was taken to this city and brought to the ZSCMST Marine Laboratory where veterinarian Dr. Anton Lim of Tzu Chi Foundation initiated the assessment of the reptile’s health condition.

A five-hour surgery was carried out on “Maamo” that followed weeks of medication and a month’s observation by a special team comprising personnel from the City Veterinarian Office, ZSCMST and Tzu Chi Foundation.

The sea turtle’s health improved significantly after surgery until it recovered its appetite. The same course of medication continued and vitamins were given as well.

It was gradually released in a strictly measured amount and level of water for it to adapt. Then, “Maamo” found a new home, a lagoon on Great Santa Cruz Island.

Source: Zamboanga Today

Philippines: ‘Maamo’ has recovered, transferred to Santa Cruz

Photos: DENRIX RPAO Facebook, Beng Climaco Facebook & Christopher Luyong Facebook [1], [2]

Philippines: Recovering Sea Turtle Moves to Great Santa Cruz Island
By DENRIX RPAO, October 2015;

Six weeks after surgery, the recovering Green Sea Turtle Maamo was transferred today from the marine facility of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology to an improvised holding facility within the lagoon in Great Santa Cruz Island, Zamboanga City.

“This successful rescue and rehabilitation of an endangered species is our statement that the DENR is serious in implementing the wildlife law,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) IX Regional Director Arleigh J. Adorable during the program that preceded the transfer of Maamo to a makeshift 5m x 5m enclosure in Great Sta Cruz Island.

It can be recalled that last August 24, the DENR responded to a call from the Municipal Environment Officer of Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay that local fishermen had brought an injured Green Sea Turtle to the PCG based in Naga. The Green Sea Turtle was suffering from severe head fracture, wound infection and decomposition and health deterioration. In August 25, the Sea Turtle underwent a 5-hour surgery administered by neurosurgeon Gaudencio Ligutom, veterinarian Anton Mari Lim and volunteers from Tzu Chi Foundation. The team concluded that the Sea Turtle was first hit by a boat propeller and subsequently received blunt force trauma to the head.

The Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. In the Philippines, it is illegal to collect, harm and/or kill Green Sea Turtles under Republic Act 9147 or the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.”

DENR IX Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Section OIC-Chief and co-team leader for Maamo Watch Georgina Fernandez said that Maamo’s transfer to the island is crucial for her full recovery as it will allow Maamo to reacclimatize herself to her natural environment while still being monitored by the Maamo Watch team.

Maamo Watch Team is headed by Fernandez and DENR IX Ecosystem Management Specialist Michael dela Cruz and composed of doctors, veterinarians, biologists and field officers from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Zamboanga City.

Zamboanga Sibugay (ZS) Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Dante A. Oporto said that the immediate response to the Green Sea Turtle was the critical factor that led to her successful rescue and rehabilitation.

RD Adorable has expressed his gratitude to Dr. Ligutom, the Tzu Chi Foundation headed by Dr. Lim, the Local Government Unit of Zamboanga City headed by Mayor Beng Climaco, ZSCMST headed by Dr. Milavel Nazario, Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Veterinarian Elmer E. Nueva, the Philippine Coast Guard, PENRO Zamboanga Sibugay headed by PENRO Oporto, Zamboanga City CENRO headed by Ben Acana and the rest of the people involved in the immediate response to Maamo.

Dr. Ligutom, the neurosurgeon who performed the surgery on Maamo said that it was not a single effort. “Maamo wouldn’t have been able to make it without everyone’s heads together. Turtles are the farmers of the sea. It is my hope that this will encourage other communities to actively participate in biodiversity conservation,” Dr. Ligutom added.

DENR-IX Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Ronald D. Gadot said that the immediate response of the local fisherman and authorities is a result of the agency’s efforts in advocating for biodiversity conservation and protection.

Dr. Mario Arriola, Zamboanga City Veterinarian, committed to continue to extend support to the DENR in its wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

The Great Santa Cruz Island is one of two protected islands jointly called the Great and Little Santa Cruz Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape (GLSCIPLS). In 2000, GLSCIPLS was declared as one of the protected areas under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 through Presidential Proclamation No. 271.

Source: Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) IX

Three Cuvier’s Beaked Whales (Ziphius cavirostris), probably from the same pod, stranded in Zamboanga del Norte last 30 September. The animals were buried but the cause of their death remains undetermined.

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Three Cuvier’s Beaked Whales (Ziphius cavirostris), probably from the same pod, stranded in Zamboanga del Norte last 30 September. The animals were buried but the cause of their death remains undetermined.

Source: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

  1. Unshelled/immature eggs retrieved inside the abdominal cavity upon necropsy.
  2. Shelled eggs inside the oviduct.
  3. 144 clean shelled eggs ready for incubation.

Update: During the necropsy, we recovered shelled eggs inside the oviduct of the dead Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). This is one of the reasons why I stayed up to 12 midnight with the team because I was suspecting that the Turtle was about to lay a clutch of eggs but was unsuccessful. A similar case was also documented by veterinarians abroad who conducted necropsy in Sea Turtles. I thank them for publishing their articles online; it guided us in the egg retrieval and incubation. There were unshelled eggs recovered also but we just disposed of them because they are not a good pick for incubation. This morning, around 144 shelled eggs were transported to the place (Vista del Mar, Upper Calarian, ZC) where this Hawksbill was found and were “laid” in a safe sandy place. We are hopeful that in 2-3 months’ time we can see 144 live hatchlings ready to find a life in the marine world.

PS: I heard a lot of locals claiming that a Turtle egg is a good cure for anemia. It’s not true! Please don’t patronize those people selling harvested Turtle eggs and report immediately to the nearest DENR office or to your barangay officials.

Source: Christopher Luyong Facebook