Bloated whale carcass beached

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Friday, August 8, 2014

A CARCASS of what could be a 20-foot long sperm whale weighing almost a ton was found floating along the coastline of Dalio and Dumoy barangays at Toril, Davao City Friday.

Rodrigo Bustillo from the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Natural Resources Operation Division said in an interview that the whale was estimated to be two weeks dead by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-Davao).

According to Renan Zamora, one of the residents in the area that he found the carcass floating around nine in the morning and was almost near the shore because of the low-tide but the local fishermen using three boats moved it away from the shore because of its foul smell.

Carcass of sperm whale floating in Davao
DAVAO. Local Authorities, representatives from D’Bone Collector Museum, and residents retrieve the bones of an estimated 20-foot rotting whale found afloat off Davao City on Friday, August 8, 2014. (King Rodriguez)


Ernesto Baclaan, councilman of Pag-ibig village in Barangay Dumoy, said that he got the reports from the residents around noon time and called on authorities to address the problem.

Considering the foul smell of the carcass and its weight, Bustillo said that it will be hard for them to transport it and their only option is to bury it in a lot near the area to avoid further disturbance.

“Kaning situation karun sa pagkapatay dili na ni siya maayo nga i-transport so kailangan jud siya ilubong diri para ma-contain nato ang iyahang baho (With the state of decomposition, it’s no longer suitable for transport. We have to bury it right here),” he said.

The lot owners at first did not approve but through further negotiation, they finally relented.

Dr. Elaine Vera Belvis, veterinarian of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Davao Region (BFAR), said D’Bone Collector’s Museum had asked to retrieve the bones, and thus they were there to gather the bones before the rotting flesh is buried.
The Bfar initially said it was a pair of pygmy sperm whales, but as it was tugged ashore, it was determined to be only one giant rotting carcass.

Belvis said they have not ascertained what caused the death as a necropsy is needed to do that.

Residents and workers of D’Bone Collectors were hacking at the bones by late afternoon, and one piece of a spine showed it was indeed a big whale.

There are several possible causes of death: from ingesting non-biodegradable wastes, from injuries inflicted by humans, from a disease or from old age, Belvis said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 09, 2014.

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