Dead ‘dugong’ found in Sagay reef

The dead sea cow locally known as “dugong” found in Macahulom Reef, one of the reefs at the Sagay Marine Reserve in Sagay City, on Monday, July 18. (Contributed Photo)
The dead sea cow locally known as “dugong” found in Macahulom Reef, one of the reefs at the Sagay Marine Reserve in Sagay City, on Monday, July 18. (Contributed Photo)

A DEAD sea cow locally known as “dugong” was found in Macahulom Reef, one of the reefs at the Sagay Marine Reserve in Sagay City, for the first time after more than two decades, on Monday, July 18.

Reports from City Veterinarian and Agriculture Offices reported that the “dugong” was identified to be a female adult.

It measures 2.95 meters with an estimated weight of 300 to 350 kilograms and is already in the advanced state of decomposition.

This is the second incident of “dugong” stranding in the area. The last was in 2000.

Bantay Dagat Volunteers Dionesio Pahayahay, Francis Gopio and Paolo Hulleza were on duty at the Macahulom Watchtower when they saw the dead animal at around 9 a.m.

They then reported this to the Office of the Protected Area Superintendent (Pasu) of Sagay Marine Reserve.

Based on the initial evaluation, there were no injuries and external lesions found on the animal.

Further external examination was performed by Pasu Mayo Antonio Cueva, EMS II Roberto Togle, Dr. Baltazar Delorino, Christoper Fernandez and Dina David-Lagutin upon its transport to the Old Sagay Feeder Port.

“Dugong” (Dugong dugon) also commonly known in Filipino as baboy-dagat (pig of the sea) and the only surviving species from the Family of Dugongidae is one of the indicator species inhabiting the coasts of northern Negros Occidental particularly in Sagay City, a statement from the city government said.

Due to its strategic location bounded by marine channels and migratory paths such as Asuncion Pass, Visayan Sea, and Tañon Strait Protected Seascape respectively, and of its bountiful pristine habitats strongly protected, it's no wonder that these species linger in the area, it said

According to the Updated Checklist and Status of Marine Mammals confirmed within the Philippine Waters by Aragones et al. 2010, this animal is considered very rare and threatened having been listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

The carcass was then turned over to Northern Negros State College of Science and Technology for future collection of data and specimens which can provide critical elements of information for research and development of management strategies., it added. (PR)

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