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3,000-pound whale beached in Southern Philippines Special

By Antonio Figueroa     Mar 21, 2013 in Environment
DAVAO CITY – A 3,000-pound sperm whale, showing injuries on its tail consistent with a harpoon wound, was found dead last Tuesday evening (March 20) along the coastline of Luban, a village in Mati City, Davao Oriental, in Southern Philippines.
The find was first reported by the Luban Farmers and Fishermen Association (LUFFA), a local fishery group, which promptly informed the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) about the discovery.
Personnel of the provincial of Davao Oriental also responded to the call to assist in the retrieval and burial of the carcass.
Amy G. Ponce, head of the Davao Oriental Provincial Government Employees Association (DGPGEA), in a text message, said the Office of the Governor “took action in burying the whale after local residents complained about the bothersome stench the carcass was producing.”
She added that the whale bones “would be retrieved months later for reconstruction and display at the provincial museum.”
The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), the largest of the toothed whales, was already in its decomposition stage when the fishermen found it.
Alternately, the whale, which is also called as the cachalot, to between 52 feet (16 meters) and 67 feet (20.5 meters) in length, with its head representing a third of the animal's length.
Scientists believe whales live up to 70 years.
Initial measurements made by the fishery bureau, showed the animal has a length of 37.3 feet (11.369 meter) long, a width of 5 feet (1.524 meter), and an estimated weight of 3,000 pounds (1,497 kilograms).
The true nature of the whale’s death has yet to be determined, and its species still tested by local fishery technicians by extracting meat samples from the carcass.
Nearly three years ago, on June 17, 2010, a 10-ton dead sperm whale was also discovered in the coast of San Isidro, Davao Oriental, whose decomposing carcass had already scattered to as far as the Island Garden City of Samal, which is part of the province of Davao del Norte.
Experts from the regional offices of BFAR, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and a team of experts in bone collection headed by Darrel Blatchley, eventually salvaged the carcass and later processed it for display in a bone museum in Davao City.
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