A 15-foot whale was rescued after a team of environment, maritime and coast guard officers spent hours helping it back out to sea in Palawan.
The whale, thought to be either a Bryde’s or Omura’s, was found trapped on the sandy beach of Luli Island yesterday afternoon.
Vivian Obligar-Soriano, senior ecosystems management specialist of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, said joint teams from the PNP-Maritime Special Operations Unit, Philippine Coast Guard, local Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff safely herded the whale back to a deeper part of the waters of the bay shortly before 2.30pm.
“We successfully released it back to the deeper part of the bay, and we didn’t see it again. We requested these authorities to keep a close watch on the marine mammal so, that when it comes back we can do something,” Soriano told the Philippine News Agency.
The area around the shallow waters off Luli Island, into which the whale had been pushed by waves and trapped, was cordoned off to keep people away while the rescue took place.
Ms Obligar-Soriano said that wounds had been seen on the whale’s tail. However, she added that they were not serious and the whale was strong enough to swim away after it had been rescued.
“Its wounds were superficial; it probably got them when its tail hit the sands and some rocks on the island due to low-tide,” she said.
The Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines has been informed of the rescue, and is now working to identify which species it belongs to.
Yesterday’s stranding is the fifth recorded in Palawan this year. The first was a seven-foot pygmy sperm whale, which was stranded in the northern municipality of Roxas in April.