Rare dugong found dead in Babuyan

The actual cause of death could not be determined although the necropsy findings hinted to the possibility of drowning (Photo credit: Vivian Soriano)


A 2.3-meter long male dugong or sea cow was found dead Saturday at Purok Baybay, Barangay Babuyan, Puerto Princesa City.

Vivian Soriano, senior ecosystems management specialist of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), said the dead sea cow was observed to have scars and scratches all over its body.

Soriano said a necropsy led by Dr. Theresa Aquino of the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines (MWWP) revealed that the sea cow had “fluid in the chest cavity,” with its stomach “full of undigested food with no plastic or garbage inside as previously suspected.”

“The actual cause of death could not be determined although the necropsy findings hinted to the possibility of drowning,” she added.

According to the MWWP, the dugong “stands out as the largest and only sea-living mammal which grazes on seagrass.”

The rare marine mammal is classified as “critically endangered” under DENR Administrative Order 2004-15.

Soriano said the incident was reported by Babuyan resident Brandon Tunga to CENRO Puerto Princesa – Anilawan Station.

Personnel from CENRO Puerto Princesa, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff, and MWWP examined the animal and supervised its proper disposal with the assistance of locals.

This incident in Bgy Babuyan was the second recorded this year.  Authorities also found a 10-feet dead dugong a day before the celebration of World Wildlife Day last March.

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