Dead sperm whale washed ashore in Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — An 11.9-meter dead sperm whale was found Sunday morning in the shores of Barangay Gumasa in Glan, Sarangani province, the first recorded case in the area this year.

Marie Ann Finalla, acting head of the fisheries resources management division of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region 12, said the decomposing whale was spotted by residents past 8 a.m. at a portion of Purok Kuda in Gumasa.

Finalla said the marine mammal could have been dead for at least five days and already in an advanced state of decomposition when found.

“It might have drifted from the deeper portions of the sea and eventually washed ashore (in Gumasa),” she said in a phone interview on Sunday afternoon.    

Finalla, whose team was among those who first responded to the site, said the dead whale weighed about 5 tons, one of the largest that was stranded on the shores of Sarangani in recent years.

She said they could not determine how the sperm whale died but noted that its body bore no wounds.

The official said they decided to forego the conduct of necropsy due to the whale’s decomposing state.

She said they advised barangay officials to bury the dead whale due to the possible contamination of the site.

In coordination with the municipal government of Glan, barangay officials and volunteers led by chairman Roque Adarna Jr. were able to move out the huge whale from the site late Sunday night.

Gumasa barangay councilor Joselito Abayon said they buried the dead marine mammal near the area past 4 a.m. on Monday.

The 215,950-hectare Sarangani Bay, which is a declared protected seascape, is considered as among the country’s hotspots for various marine species, including those in the endangered list.

In August, marine experts documented around 270 dolphins and whales in parts of the bay and more could reportedly be thriving in the area.  Richelyn Gubalani / PNA –