THE decomposing Irrawaddy dolphin recently found at the mangrove area of Barangay Sampinit in Bago City was pregnant.

Members of the Center for Research and Engagement of the University of Saint La Salle-Bacolod, who examined the animal, discovered a young dolphin inside its stomach.

The team's research associate Mark dela Paz said they suspect that the dolphin is about to give birth.

Dela Paz said they found a wound at the body of the animal with its rib cage broken.

“The dolphin was possibly hit by a boat or another hard object," he said, adding they cannot conclude if this was intentional.

The dead dolphin of almost two-meter in length was first found floating in the waters of the said barangay on January 3.

A resident reported it but the animal can no longer be found when the locals tried to check on it.

Members of Barangay Katungdan, a group of volunteers for mangrove protection, received reports that it was again seen in the area on Sunday morning, January 13.

Dela Paz said given that it is already on the advanced state of decomposition, the dead dolphin was just left at the mangrove area.

They decided not to bury the dolphin.

Irrawaddy dolphin is considered critically endangered in the province.

In Negros Occidental, such species is inhabiting at the waters of Bago City and Pulupandan town, he added.

Dela Paz's group called on local fishermen to "slow down" their boats during fishing activities to lessen the chances of hitting the dolphins.

They also urged residents to immediately report to authorities if they found Irrawaddy dolphins, whether dead or alive, in their area.

The killing of these marine animals are punishable under Fisheries Code and Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, he said.