Juvenile whale shark rescued in Sibonga

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Sunday, August 3, 2014


A 300-KILO whale shark, locally known as butanding, was rescued by fishermen in Barangay Simala, Sibonga, Cebu yesterday morning.
The butanding managed to return to deeper waters with their help.
Residents saw the butanding close to shore and it looked like it was in trouble, so they call authorities.

Trained rescuers

Personnel from the Bantay Dagat Task Force reported the incident to the Naval Forces Central, which coordinated with the Civil Security Unit of the Provincial Government.

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Capitol Chief Security Officer Roy Madrigal said he dispatched three personnel to help with the rescue operation.

The three, Madrigal said, are trained to rescue mammals and other big fish like the butanding.

“The local fishermen helped the butanding so it can go back where it came from,” Madrigal told Sun.Star Cebu.

Madrigal said Navy coordinated with the Provincial Government since they wanted trained personnel for the rescue.

He said the strong current might have driven the whale shark to the shallow end of the beach.

“The fishermen in the area immediately guided the butanding after they saw that it was still alive,” Madrigal said.

Possible cause

The gentle giants are usually seen in the water off Oslob town.
The sighting of the whale sharks has become a local attraction in the area.

Due to strong winds brought by the southwest monsoon, or habagat, authorities said there is a tendency for young whale sharks to be swept to the shallow portion of the ocean.

With yesterday’s incident, Madrigal asked residents to immediately report to authorities if something similar happens again.

“If they are still alive, as much as possible we want to bring these creatures back to sea and that is the purpose why some of our personnel were trained to rescue,” he said. (RVC)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 03, 2014.

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