Dwarf sperm whale found dead, another rescued in La Union
STO. TOMAS, La Union — A whale was found dead on Wednesday, April 19, near a floating cage in this town.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said residents discovered the dead dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) around 7 a.m. in Casantaan village.
The BFAR staff immediately buried the carcass on an island near the agency’s facility as it was already decomposing.
It was the second whale found this week in the town’s shallow waters, according to BFAR.
On Monday, another dwarf sperm whale washed ashore near a cove in this town.
BFAR veterinarian Hasmin Chogsayan said residents of Cupang village found the 2-meter long, adult marine mammal around 11:30 a.m. on Monday.
Cupang residents tried to push the animal back into the sea six times, but it kept returning to the shore, prompting them to ask the La Union Provincial Fishery Office (PFO) for help.
Chogsayan said the sea animal was releasing dark ink-like fluid, which whales usually do to defend themselves against predators.
“The residents were worried that the whale could get injured as it was staying near an oyster farm area,” she said, adding that the coastal residents were already aware of the need to protect sea mammals.
A rescue team from the PFO and the BFAR-Fishery Protection and Law Enforcement Office examined the sea animal, which had several healing cookie cutter shark bites and bruises on the abdominal part, which could be due to contact with the rough surface of the seabed.
Chogsayan said the initial plan was to bring the sea animal to an island near the village for rehabilitation, but they decided to release it because all parameters showed that it was fit for release.
“It was buoyant, had good body condition, and the respiratory rate was within range. Perhaps it just got lost and wandered into the cove. So we decided to release it at 5:30 p.m.,” she said.
Dwarf sperm whales are protected species under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Wild Flora and Fauna. INQ