Environmentalists send back rescued dolphin to Sarangani Bay
COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao del Norte, Philippines — Environment officials in Sarangani province on Friday released back to its natural habitat a dolphin that was stranded and rescued on the coast of General Santos City on Dec. 6.
Dr. Roy Mejorada, in-house veterinarian of the Sarangani Protected Area Management Office, described the dolphin as “a young adult male Spinner dolphin.”
For education and documentation purposes, Maria Elvira Lumayag, an officer of the Sarangani provincial office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Protect Area Superintendent Joy Ologuin named the dolphin Yoyo.
Yoyo was stranded and rescued by villagers on Dec. 6 on the shores of Barangay Bula, General Santos City, and was released back into Sarangani Bay early Friday morning, Dec. 9, after undergoing rehabilitation in the circular tank facility at the aquaculture farm of Alsons Aquaculture Corporation in Alabel, Sarangani.
According to Mejorada, supportive care was immediately provided by the first responders from the Marine Mammals Rescue Team, the Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) of General Santos, the DENR community, the Buayan ENRO, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
“We sent him back to the sea for assessment and we found out the dolphin’s swimming and buoyancy appears to be not perfect,” Mejorada said.
He said after three hours of supportive care, Yoyó suddenly swam faster to open waters but ended up stranded again at the Makar area in General Santos City.
Members of the Philippine National Police Maritime Group and BFAR rescued and transferred Yoyó to the Alsons aquaculture farm on Wednesday afternoon.
“Our rehab efforts were back to zero. We fed him manually and observed his balance,” Mejorada said.
“On Thursday, we noticed some improvement, his condition is improving and Thursday night he needs no human support,” he said, adding that Yoyo glided and danced in his natural habitat.
He said the dolphin was healthy and had no major injuries.
“So far, he has minor scratches, but as to why he was stranded, we can’t really answer that,” he said.
As Yoyo was released to the bay, Majorada appealed and alerted coastal villagers to watch out for his possible stranding again.
Lumayag said the DENR would continue monitoring similar cases “because Sarangani Bay is full of marine mammals.”
“That’s why we are trying to strengthen our enforcement to protect our marine life,” Lumayag said.
Sarangani Bay is a haven of marine mammals, including the dugong or seacow, dolphins, and marine turtles. The dugong is considered Sarangani Bay’s flagship specie.
Alsons operations manager Israel Mosquera said their company was privileged to have helped rehabilitate the dolphin as they would always “have a heart for Sarangani Bay.”