By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
An Irrawaddy dolphin was found dead last Sunday, March 14, off the coast of Barangay Taloc in Bago City, Negros Occidental.
According to Lumba Project, a local marine conservation group, the dolphin was identified as N-08, who was nicknamed by researchers as “Fuji.”
The group said fishermen in the area claimed that they witnessed Fuji being attacked by what appeared to be a large shark in the Guimaras Strait.
The fishermen immediately tried to rescue the dolphin, but it later passed away due to the severity of the wounds it had incurred in the attack.
The Lumba Project said a large chunk of flesh and muscle was torn away from the dorsal thoracic region of the dolphin. Large triangular marks were also found on the exposed muscles, suggestive of a shark attack.
Despite what the group comments as a “sad loss” they still thanked the local fishermen in the area for their response.
A necropsy was also performed by researchers with the permission of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The coastal area of Bago City heading south towards the town of Pulupandan is home to one of three known sub-populations of Irrawaddy dolphins in the Philippines.
Surveys conducted from 2009 to 2016 in the Iloilo-Guimaras Straits estimated that only 8-18 mature individuals remain in this subpopulation and are declining.
The subpopulation was listed Critically Endangered by the International Union of the Conservation of Nature./DGB, WDJ