Residents and local authorities bring the stranded dugong to safer waters. (Photo courtesy of Mike Allen Gabinete)

An adult female dugong was saved by local residents in Barangay Ramon Magsaysay, Aborlan after getting stuck in a fish cage (baklad) on Thursday morning.

The owner of the fish cage immediately alerted barangay officials and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) after seeing the dugong, according to resident Mike Allen Gabinete.

Gabinete was also one of the nearby residents who helped officials bring the dugong to a safer area before eventually carrying it to deeper waters. He narrated the events in a Facebook post, stating that the dugong also had some cuts on its body after getting stuck in the fish cage, and was also unable to swim to deeper waters because the tide had receded.

The dugong is submerged in deeper waters after being carried. (Photo courtesy of Mike Allen Gabinete)

After environmental authorities taught the residents what to do, concerned residents and local authorities were able to carry the dugong to a temporary area to make sure it would not suffer from heat exposure. They were eventually able to carry the dugong to deeper waters.

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“Matapos magkaroon ng mga bagay na pwedeng magamit sa paglipat ng dugong, agad na itong binuhat patungo sa malapit na area na may tubig (about 20-30m ang layo). Isa pa sa nagpahirap upang maibalik ang dugong sa laot ay ang kalayuan ng tubig-dagat, siguro 400-500 meters ang layo,” Gabinete said in his post.

Gabinete added that the experience had a positive impact on him that day because of the residents’ concern for the dugong. He said that ordinary citizens can help save vulnerable or endangered marine life if they report animals in distress to the proper authorities.

“Nakatataba ng puso na makita ang mga tao na nagtulungan upang maisalba ang nasabing dugong, ang dugong na mayroong importanteng gampanin sa pagmaintain ng coastal ecosystems. Gaya ng pangyayari kanina, may magagawa ka rin bilang mamamayan. Ang simpleng pagreport sa mga kinauukalan ay malaking tulong upang lubos na mabigyang pansin ang mga concerns natin sa buhay,” he added.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.