‘Dugong’ found dead in Barbaza

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Monday, January 16, 2017

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ILOILO – A 10-foot sea cow, locally known as dugong, was found dead in Barbaza, Antique.

Locals spotted the floating dead mammal near the Batabat Coral Reef in Barangay Lisub around 6 a.m. on Saturday.

The dead dugong was buried near the shore, according to Flord Nicson Calawag, who shared photos of the dead mammal on Facebook.

Calawag told Panay News in a text message he plans to autopsy the dugong’s body to determine the cause of death. He said he is a licensed fisheries technologist and biodiversity researcher.

Local authorities were informed about the discovery, said Calawag, who also claimed affiliation with the Provincial Tourism Office.

It was not the first time a dead dugong was found in Barbaza — or in Antique.

On Jan. 7, 2013 a 3-meter male sea cow was found dead near the fish net of the Laguna Fishing Adventure (Oto-shi-ami) in Barangay Jinalinan.

A local environment officer, Vicente Mellizas, at the time said there were scars and markings on the mammal’s head down to the left side of the body up to the tail.

Mellizas said local authorities disposed of the dead dugong by towing it out of the sea, one of the options in disposing of dead animals based on the Field Manual for the Rescue or Salvage of Stranded and Captured Marine Mammals.

On Oct. 30, 2015 another dead dugong was found in Tibiao.

A fisherman in Barangay Malabor asked his fellow fishers to drag the mammal’s body to the shore.

An agricultural technologist on fisheries in the town, Mario Malabor, said in a newspaper report the sinker tied to the tail and the two 4-inch wounds in its belly and forelimb, or flipper, imply the mammal was killed.

Dugong, the only strictly herbivorous marine mammal, lives in shallow coastal waters of the Indian and western Pacific Oceans.

It is classified vulnerable under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List Status./PN




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