Barangay officials in Ramon Magsaysay, Aborlan said although it’s going to be difficult, they will find who is responsible for slaughtering a dugong (sea cow) that was stuck in a fish cage (baklad) on Thursday.
In a separate Facebook post, resident and conservation enthusiast Mike Allen Gabinete said that the dugong was first sighted by a barangay tanod who immediately alerted him and barangay captain Lorenzo Magsipoc to help free the animal. However, the dugong was gone as soon as they returned, only to be found slaughtered in a nearby mangrove.
“Oo, [iimbestigahan namin], kaya lang, hindi na namin naabutan kung sino ang kumatay, kasi nakalagay na sa sako bago namin nakita sa bakawan,” Magsipoc said in a text message on Friday. He also added that it will be difficult to find out who is responsible, especially since residents of the coastal area are aware of conservation laws and how to treat endangered marine life.
“Mahirap kasi magturo na hindi natin actual na naabutan na siya ang kumatay. Ngayon lang ito. Maliit lang kasi itong nahuli kumpara sa nakaraan,” he added.
Magsipoc added that he also ordered the removal of the fish cage where the dugong was found, stating that the owner had no permit to set it up in the area. He also warned nearby residents not to harm any more marine wildlife, stating that they may face legal action if they fail to do so.
“Pinapatanggal ko ‘yong baklad kasi illegal, walang permit. At sinasabi ko sa kanila na may kaparusahan kapag ay nahuli na kinakatay mo ‘yong endangered na hayop,” Magsipoc added.
This is the second time a dugong was spotted in the area stuck in a fish cage. During the first sighting, residents, barangay officials, and environment authorities were able to bring the dugong to deeper waters. Magsipoc also said it was strange that such an incident occurred, and may have been done by a non-resident of the area.