Mejorada said the 4.2-meter long, approximately 600 kilos female Pilot whale was reported to have beached itself along a seagrass bed at barangay Gumasa on August 29 at around eight o’clock in the evening.
After receiving the report from the locals, Mejorada said the team has responded to the stranding incident immediately on August 30, and after consultations with the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network and assessment of the condition of the whale, rehabilitation procedures were performed.
The whale was found “weak and dehydrated” with buoyancy issues due to an injury in its left pectoral fin or flipper.
“We administered supportive care with therapy to address the dehydration problem. Nagbigay din tayo ng mga pain relievers, liquefied na pagkain, and then we also administered electrolytes and fluids para doon sa dehydration issue niya,” Mejorada said.
According to Mejorada, the response team intended to have the rehab of the pilot whale be extended to observe its progress, but after administering medicines, the whale showed signs of recovery and improvements.
He said despite the team’s efforts of guiding her back to the shallow waters, Pilot whale “Heroine” swam back to the deeper waters on Friday.
“There are so many reasons bakit nastr-strand yung mga whale. Posibleng hinahabol sila ng pwedeng kumain sa kanila, or may hinahabol silang pagkain kaya napapadpad sila or generally not feeling well sila,” he said.
With the recent sighting of a stranded whale, Mejorada said, “the presence of our marine mammals in Sarangani Bay would indicate that Sarangani Bay is still rich in marine resources, maganda yung water quality natin and mataas yung marine productivity natin, which means mataas yung nutrients sa bay kaya marami tayong mga primary producers at yung mga maliliit na isda na kinakain ng mga malalaking isda natin.”
Mejorada also called out to locals “if ever may ma-strand na animal sa dalampasigan, i-report agad sa Bantay Dagat, huwag basta-basta lalapitan kasi it’s for the safety of the animal and for the safety rin ng tao. The best thing to do is report it to the authorities.”
The Megafauna Response team named the female whale “Heroine” after it was rescued on a holiday, August 30, during National Heroes’ Day.
The Megafauna Response Team composed of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office of Sarangani, Municipal ENRO and CENRO Glan, Bantay Dagat, PNP Maritime-Glan, and Protected Area Management Office of Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (PAMO-SBPS). (Jori Mae R. Samillano/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)
Photo by Gary Cabinta, taken on September 1 during the rehabilitation of the injured Pilot whale at barangay Gumasa in Glan.