10 stranded whales, dolphins die in Ilocos during lockdown
DAGUPAN CITY—Ten marine mammals died after being stranded in various areas in the Ilocos region during the Luzon lockdown in the last three months, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said on Thursday.
Most of the animals were adult whales and dolphins and died in rehabilitation facilities. They were rescued by the BFAR here and in Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte provinces between March 14 and June 14.
In Bataan province, two short-finned pilot whales were found stranded along its shores.
An animal trainer from Ocean Adventure in nearby Subic Bay Freeport helped rescue one of the whales, which washed up on the coastline of Bagac town on Monday. It was taken to Las Casas Marina in Bagac for treatment.
The other whale was found stranded on Sunday in Morong town and was also rescued by a team from Ocean Adventure and Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
At least 53 marine animals had been stranded in the country since January, said Lemnuel Aragones, director of the University of the Philippines Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, and head of the Marine Mammal Research and Stranding Laboratory.
But 37 of these were recorded in the last three months when the government imposed the lockdown.
Aragones said the 10 stranding incidents in the Ilocos were the highest among the regions.
“We may think that the sea creatures are safer now because people are in their homes. But the threats to these animals are still there,” he said.
Some of the animals were already sick when they were stranded, he said, adding that illegal fishing activities remained a threat to their survival. —REPORTS FROM YOLANDA SOTELO AND JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOT
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