Dolphins seek refuge at Hundred Islands
At the height of the Inter-Island Parao Race, the first leg of this year’s Gali-Langoy’s Eco-Adventure Race last April 29, another Pantrophical spotted dolphin was stranded within the city’s coastal waters further confirming the reports from the local fisherfolks here that these friendly-creatures are not just really returning back but are now living at the Hundred Islands National Park (HINP).
Dr. Ronald Abarra and some personnel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Mariculture Technology Development Center (BFAR-RMATDC) rescued the said dolphin which was trapped from a fish corral locally known as baklad.
A fish corral is a triangular shape stationary fishing gear made of bamboo and net use to trap fish. It has easy entrance and hard exit catching chambers which is believed to have caused the cuts and marking on the dolphin’s body.
Edmund Laso, baklad caretaker, first spotted the dolphin which he said was struggling to free itself from the trap and visibly weak.
Laso then informed the POSO-Bantay Dagat and the City Veterinary Office about it and immediately, Dr. Abarra and BFAR-RMATDC personnel came to the rescue and brought the dolphin to the BFAR facility at Lucap wharf for physical examination and emergency treatment.
The dolphin, which was later named Gali-la that means "come, let’s go", since it was rescued during the city’s going celebration of Gali-langoy Eco-Adventure race.
Dr. Abarra said Gali-la was set to be transferred on the same day to the Ocean Adventure Park in Subic, Zambales for further treatment and rehabilitation. But the dolphin died after five hours due to blood loss and deep wounds believed to have been caused by shark attack as well as the bamboo and nets.
While Mayor Hernani A. Braganza was glad to learn about the arrival or presence of dolphins in Hundred Islands, he also expressed concern over the news of another dolphin stranding incident in the area and the city’s failure to save it.
“Two dolphins getting stranded and rescued by our citymates in a span of a month," asked the environmental mayor. "There’s definitely a big reason for all of these.”
“But what we are seeing right now is no mere accident,” said Mayor Hernani A. Braganza, on the presence dolphins and even whales’ at the city’s marine sanctuary nowadays.
A good observation supported by Milberth Ferrer, city fishery section chief, who pointed to the city government’s environmental protection thrusts as the main reason behind influx of marine mammals in the Hundred Islands.
He said since all forms of illegal fishing at the HINP was stopped starting in 2004, ecological balance has been restored in the area adding that the efforts of the Braganza administration in fully implementing the city’s fishery ordinance and the Coastal Resources Management Program have allowed every marine life to easily spawn, grow and thrive in the city’s coastal waters.
“These dolphins, whales and other marine mammals are here because our coastal waters are healthy and clean,” Ferrer noted.
“The group of dolphins does not just seek refuge because it is in distress but it has found out that pod is well protected here and there are plenty of fish for every species in the underwater food chain.”
Dr. Abarra, on the other hand, pointed out that their only concern now is how to save these gentle giants when it get stranded or how will the residents or tourists will help guide it back to the open sea.
He said with the help of fishefolk associations and various agencies, the city government continues to take giant strides to ensure that these dolphins and whales will not just be safe but will also find Hundred Islands as its new home.
Now that these friendly creatures are regularly seen at the city’s coastal waters. (CIO)