THE bone recovery and preservation of the Sperm whale that was found dead along the shores of Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental will cost around P3 million to P3.5 million, Municipal Mayor Jason John Joyce said.

On May 21, 2022, two fishermen discovered the carcass of a sperm whale beached along the shores of Sitio Sakalig, Barangay Sugal, Jose Abad Satos. The whale measured around 60 feet in length and nine feet in width. It weighed around 40 tons. The whale was observed to have multiple wounds and may have already been dead before it beached.

In a press statement on May 22, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Davao Region (DENR-Davao) said regional executive director Bagani Fidel A. Evasco has directed the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office of Davao Occidental (Penro-Davao Occidental), led by PENR Officer Chamberlain Babiera, to coordinate with relevant agencies and marine biology experts.

Joyce, in a phone interview with SunStar Davao, said a team from D’Bone Collector Museum in Davao City, started the removal of meat and deboning of the sperm whale on May 22, 2022.

He said they are hoping to quickly debone and bury the sperm whale because residents near the area are already reporting that a foul smell is already being given off by the whale carcass.

“Maong ginapapaspasan nato ang pag debone sa iyaha para malubong na siya dayon. Naka standby na atong heavy equipment didto para ready na siya ilubong,” Joyce said.

(We have to act fast in deboning the whale so that we can bury it already. The heavy equipment is already on standby to be ready to bury the whale.)

Evasco, in a statement, also said, "There is also a need to cordon the area. And the carcass should be disposed of immediately because its smell can be toxic and hazardous to the community.”

The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office (MDRRO) of Jose Abad Santos warned that the decomposing carcass poses health risks to the immediate community.

Meanwhile, he said they hope to collect the whale’s bones and preserve them, which comes with a big price tag.

“Based sa quotation sa akoa from the experts, it will cost P3 million to P3.5 million sa pag-recover ng bone and pag-preserve sa iyaha,” Joyce said.

(Based on the quotation from the experts, the recovery of bones and its preservations could run around P3 million to P3.5 million.)

He said they want to preserve the whale and have it displayed in a “low-cost” museum or at their gym. The cost for the construction of the museum is different from what will be spent for the recovery and preservation of the whale bones.

“I am coordinating with DOT (Department of Tourism) kung unsa ilang matabang sa amoa... basi pwede ta magbutang museum diri sa JAS, maski low cost museum lang para makit-an sa future generations,” Joyce said in an interview with SunStar Davao.

(I am coordinating with DOT as to how they can help. We hope to have a museum, even a low-cost one, for the future generations to see the whale.)

Joyce added that if they base it on the Subangan Museum in Mati City, Davao Oriental, the cost of the recovery and collection of sperm whale bones to the construction of the museum could run as high as P10 million, hence, opting for a smaller one for Jose Abad Santos.

This is not the first time a large marine mammal beached along the shores of Jose Abad Santos, a coastal town facing an open sea.

Joyce said the open sea in front of them could be described as a “highway” of a variety of marine life, including large marine life like whales.

Based on the data forwarded by Joyce, they also recorded the beaching of marine mammals in 2013, 2015, and 2016. The team from the Davao Bone Collection Museum, headed by its owner Daryl Blatchley, also assisted the municipality in deboning the whale.