Province of Sorsogon to institute protocols on marine mammal stranding response
By: Irma A. Guhit
Sorsogon City - Feb. 11 - Dr. Enrique Espiritu, provincial veterinary officer, of the Sorsogon Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) in an interview after providing emergency first response assistance, administering medical care , and collecting blood, tissue and fecal samples for study and proper assessment, has advised the release of the 300 kg Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) now considered as rare species and found last week here at the municipal waters of Matnog.
The composite team who handled the release were Mayor Emilio Ubaldo of Matnog, Noni Enolba of the Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources, RO5, Gil Ramos of the Provincial Agriculture , Fishery Section, Elvira Pantone, municipal agriculture officer of Matnog and Dr. Espiritu.
Espiritu said, that it now but just timely that the public should be informed on the right protocols to be followed by local government officials in the proper handling of stranded marine mammals and how fast emergency stranding response can be instituted.
Sorsogon found at the tail-end point of the island of Luzon is surrounded by two big bodies of water, from the western side, the Pacific Ocean and on the eastern side, the China Sea. It has now a series of marine mammal stranding reports and records from whale sharks, dolphins and porpoise almost every month according to Dr. Espiritu.
Dr. Espiritu has been trained last October 2010 on the medical aspects of marine mammal stranding emergency response and now is part of the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network that can respond immediately to such kind of calls.
“With the frequent cases of marine mammal stranding recorded here in the province, a training for marine mammal stranding emergency response should be conducted specifically to local government officials, municipal agricultural officers and personnel from the office of the provincial agriculture, specifically the fishery sector. Through this, awareness by key persons responsible on how to handle such cases will observe the right protocols and can assure the continuous conservation and preservation of our marine biodiversity”, Espiritu said.
The Philippines according to the scientific data recorded by the Philippine Marine Mammal Network is home to 26 species of whales and dolphins.
Sorsogon stands out as a province in the conduct of the study since it is home to the famous whale shark locally known as Butanding (Rhincodon typus) and is now considered one of the best ecotourism attractions globally.
“It is high time that our public officials and agencies involved in the protection and preservation of our marine mammals and the public as well, be well-aware on their roles and functions in saving our marine resource. Institutionalizing the right protocols on how we can immediately address cases of marine mammal stranding in our province is an answer too to mitigation and adaptation since marine mammals are also greatly affected now by climate change.” , Espiritu further stressed.(PIA-Sorsogon)