SUBIC FREEPORT -- A stranded dolphin that was rescued by members of the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network (PMMSN) last April and brought to the Dolphin Rescue and Rehabilitation Center at Ocean Adventure, a marine theme park here, is on his way to a full recovery.
Gail Laule, chief operating officer of Ocean Adventure, said that the dolphin was named "Kagitingan" because he was rescued in the town of Subic, Zambales on April 9, or the Day of Valor.
Laule said that “through the timely efforts of PMMSN members and the Ocean Adventure Dolphin Rescue team, Kagitingan is alive and well today. He has been in rehabilitation just over a month and has completely recovered his buoyancy and can swim, dive, and do low breaches."
She added that his vigor and appetite "are now fully restored, and there are no signs of complications that might give rise to a concern. Having said that, there is still the possibility that he is suffering from some degree of hearing loss. "
She added that if Kagitingan's hearing loss is significant “he would not be able to find fish, communicate with other dolphins, and survive in the wild."
In the meantime, Laule said that Kagitingan has developed a close tie with April, a dolphin who was also rescued and transported to the Dolphin Rescue Center, some time ago. "They rest, eat, and swim together," she added.
Dr. Leo Suarez, staff veterinarian at Ocean Adventure, said that after Kagitingan was brought to Ocean Adventure, the animal was provided with 24/7 care by staff and trained volunteers to keep him safely afloat and to closely monitor his condition.
But now, Kagitingan has “a great appetite and eats four times a day. He has just been recently taken off antibiotics but still receives three different supplements everyday," he added.
Suarez said that Kagitingan might be suffering from “acoustic trauma,” which is highly likely caused by dynamite fishing.
Laule said that Dr. Aude Pacini, an expert on acoustic trauma, will be brought into the country to look at Kagitingan's condition.
"We will spare no expense in guaranteeing that Kagitingan gets the best care possible. His rescue and treatment is symbolic of our commitment to the welfare of marine mammals, and to the success of PMMSN," she said.
Laule noted that six dolphins have been brought to Ocean Adventure in the last year due to injuries caused by dynamite fishing. Two died, including a Frasers Dolphin named Julius from Pangasinan.
The other three survived but suffered permanent hearing loss.
Fondly referred to as the Dynamite Girls," they are living in the open water lagoons at the Park.
Laule said that the PMMSN network “is unrivalled in its effectiveness and excellence. We are doing great work, and saving lives of marine mammals all throughout the country. There is nothing quite like it in the world.”
Laule added that anyone interested in becoming a trained volunteer and member of the PMMSN “should contact Ocean Adventure through our FB page or our website PMMSN.ORG, or call 047-252-9000. (PR)