False killer whale seen in Sarangani Bay

False killer whale seen in Sarangani Bay

False killer whale seen in Sarangani Bay

—Photo courtesy of DENR-12

KORONADAL CITY, SOUTH COTABATO, Philippines — A false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) was spotted off the waters of Glan town in Sarangani province, which is part of the 215,950-hectare Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS), an official said on Monday.

Cirilo Lagnason Jr., head of the SBPS-Protected Area Management Office, said the lone false killer whale was spotted on May 9 foraging off the coastal waters of Barangay Burias in Glan, a popular tourist destination known for its powdery white sand beaches, while environment workers and scientists were doing their biodiversity assessment and monitoring activity in the SBPS.


The SBPS traverses through several towns in the provinces of Sarangani and South Cotabato and General Santos City.


READ: In Sarangani, dolphin, whale sightings mean bay is healthy

The false killer whale, named for the resemblance of its skull to killer whales (Orcinus orca), is among the largest members of the oceanic dolphin family. Their feeding habits are unique — such as the tendency to playfully toss their food (mainly fish and squid) in the air before consuming it, often sharing it with fellow pod members, according to a statement from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Soccsksargen based in this city.

Due to their predominantly offshore distribution, false killer whales are difficult to study and not many of its population have been assessed. As such, the species is designated as “data deficient” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, according to the UK-based International Whaling Commission (IWC).

IUCN stands for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a global environmental network composed of governments and civil society organizations founded in 1948.

Reaching up to 6 meters in length, false killer whales behave much more like a smaller dolphin, swimming quickly, occasionally leaping and sometimes approaching whale watching vessels, the IWC said.

Foraging ground

“The timing of this encounter adds excitement as we celebrate the Month of the Ocean. Such an encounter underscores the importance of the seascape as a foraging ground for marine mammals, making it a critical habitat for their survival,” Lagnason said in the statement.


This year’s Month of the Ocean is themed “Develop a Sustainable and Equitable Blue Economy.”

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TAGS: false killer whale, nternational Union for Conservation of Nature, Red List of Threatened Species, SBPS

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