Environment and maritime authorities on Thursday afternoon released yet another whale that beached off Honda Bay, Barangay Sta. Lourdes.
Jovic Fabello, the spokesman for the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS), suspected the whale, which got stranded on the bay’s shallow waters around 6 a.m., was the same one that was rescued in Barangay Langogan on Wednesday.
“Due to its proximity to Langogan, there’s a big chance it’s the same whale that was released yesterday – it’s length is estimated to be around 12-feet long and its left flipper is wounded,” he told Palawan News.
Commonly, the cause of stranding of mammals is “either it has an injury or illness. “But we don’t know what happened to that whale at sea, causing it to get stranded again in Honda Bay,” he explained.
According to Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (SOU-MG) Information Officer PO2 Primrose Flores, the presence of the troubled whale was reported to them by the Bantay Dagat about 6:00 a.m.
“Dito malapit sa wharf namin nakita iyong whale, ni-report sa amin ng Bantay Dagat. Upon orders of our commander, Police Supt. Greg Togonon, we proceeded to where it was and waited for our partner environment agencies to start the rescue,” she said.
Flores narrated they had to bring the whale to Pandan Island where the water is deeper to ensure that it would not drift farther to the shoreline.
“Kasi mababaw lang ang tubig dito sa amin kanina. Kung dito siya pakakawalan, may possibility na makabalik siya sa mababaw na tubig at ma-tra-trap siya ulit,” she explained.
She added that Myla Adriano of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) initially identified it to be a pilot whale.
“I-cla-clarify pa rin kung ito ba ay short-finned or long-finned. Pero kung titignan naman natin, ang long-finned sa malalamig na lugar mas makikita,” Flores said.
It took hours before the whale swam back to deeper waters off Pandan Island around 11 a.m., according to her, since they needed to wait for environment experts from the PCSDS and City ENRO.
Fabello said they had emailed photos to the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines (MWWP) for species identification.
Last year, there were five recorded whale beaching incidents in Palawan, the most recent occurring in December when a 15-foot whale, suspected to be either a Bryde’s or Omura’s, was trapped on the sandy beach of Luli Island that is also in Honda Bay.