Rare whale beaches in Compostela, dies

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A rare ginkgo-toothed beaked whale beached at a coastal village of Maco, Compostela Valley province, but died ten hours later. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Darrel Blatchley of D’Bone Collector Museum

DAVAO CITY—A “super rare” ginkgo-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon ginkgodens) beached in Maco, Compostela Valley, on Wednesday but later died due to its failure to digest garbage and other debris it had eaten, a conservationist here said on Saturday.

Darrel Blatchley, an Idaho native who had settled here and founded D’Bone Collector Museum, said villagers discovered the 16-feet long “super rare whale” around 2 a.m.

“But about 10 in the morning, the whale died,” Blatchley told the Inquirer.

He said the whale, which has been transported to the D’Bone museum here for necropsy (an autopsy performed on animals), weighed about 800 kilograms.

“The whale died of indigestion. It has garbage debris in its stomach when we did the necropsy,” Blatchley said.

Blatchley said the whale retrieved in Maco was only the second of its kind seen in the Philippines since 1957.

In fact, it is so rare that there are only a few of such whales discovered around the world.

There is a little known fact about the ginkgo-toothed beaked whale, which is among the 21 species of beaked, medium-sized whales with distinctive, long and narrow beaks and dorsal fins near the tail, but it has been spotted in areas around the Pacific and Eastern Indian Oceans, he said.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said data on ginkgo-toothed beaked whale was scarce.

“Very little is known about this whale. It is presumed to have food habits like those of other beaked whales and probably subsists on squid and open-water fishes,” FAO said.

“It is a fairly typical-looking species but is notable for the males not having any scarring,” FAO said, adding that the mammal was named for the unusual shape of its dual teeth, which is similar to the leaf of the ginkgo biloba plant.

This type of whale, FAO said, can grow up to 4.9 meters long from its birth length of 2.4 meters.

Since its discovery in the 1950s, there were only about 20 beachings reported off the coasts of Japan, the Galapagos Island, California, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Maldives, FAO said.

Some fishermen off the coast of Japan also reported limited sightings of the whale, which was why it was difficult to estimate its population in the wild, it added.

Because it is super rare, the ginkgo-toothed beaked whale is covered by the Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and Their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region, which was pushed by the Convention on Migratory Species and was signed in 1996 by at least 15 countries, including the United States.

The Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) even put the whale on its Red List.

“Until the species can be reliably identified at sea, its true distribution will probably remain unknown,” the IUCN said. Dennis Jay C. Santos, with a report from Allan A. Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Abdul-Rashid/100004367910013 Abdul Rashid

    People should learn to consume these whales before they become extinct. How we have thrown our garbage at sea kills them anyway, we might as well include them in our diet and improve malnutrition in the Philippines.

    • muddygoose

      Not funny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Boycott.Made.N.China Val Sor

    Lesson here is never eat garbage. Eat whales before they die, LOL.

    • buttones

      Not too sure what the menu of many a fast food joint has to do with this- this garbage you speak of- this is the garbage people eat….that is why they whine about their condition of diabetes and obesity – I think it’s quite funny really.. So they die, just like the whale…..

  • Vertumnus

    Sick comments here!  One of nature’s animal is dead because of man’s disregard for the environment.  Year after year, animals are pushed into extinction by man and the best we can do is make jokes about it!  Pitiful!  We are squatters on this planet and we have trashed the place from north to south, east to west.  If this continues, we can only see animals in zoos and aquariums genetically modified to live in man made garbage!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OJPU5Y7FSVXJ4P5WJAUXGYB2V4 Dan

    During my recent visit to Boracay, staying on the New coast , I could not believe the garbage  and waste that was on the beach and in the water . Unless the Philippines and the Filipino people
    learn to respect the environment ,  the country will be  further destroyed in a mountain of garbage ….. the same goes for my barangay  In Toril, Davao…. where the garbage and waste is everywhere and flows to the beaches in the drainage ditches .    

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