Cebu towns told: Treat whale sharks better-A A +A
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
CEBU CITY -- A Capitol team is teaching different towns how to prevent accidents that may injure the whale sharks that have drawn tourists to some southern Cebu towns.
The Provincial Veterinary Office, said Mary Rose Vincoy, is training Bantay Dagat workers, local officers and some residents the basics of a “Marine Mammal and Cetacean Rescue” program.
“We also incorporate in the training whale shark conservation and preservation,” said Vincoy, who heads the office.
The activity is being held amid reports that one of the whale sharks has been scarred by a boat’s propeller.
Vincoy said she believes that Fermin -- which is what regulars have taken to calling the creature -- was probably not injured in Oslob town, but elsewhere.
“When these whale sharks go to other towns where there is no ordinance protecting them, they are at risk,” said Vincoy.
She said not all towns have ordinances to control the actions of those viewing the whale sharks, unlike Oslob. The town’s ordinance also prohibits touching the whale sharks.
Fermin, the favorite and most gentle among whale sharks in Oslob, disappeared for days from that town and was already scarred when it returned, she said.
She heard that one pumpboat operator panicked when he saw the whale shark open its mouth, so he started the engine. The whale sharks in Oslob are regularly fed krill in Oslob.
In Oslob, however, motorized boats are not allowed near the whale sharks’ feeding grounds.
“Tourism is for the enhancement of these species, but people need to become more aware of the need to protect them,” Vincoy said. (OCP/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 31, 2012.