Sarangani Bay hosts more whales, dolphins

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Sarangani Bay here has surprised local residents and visitors alike with the many dolphins and whales it now hosts.

Joy Oloquin, area superintendent of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS), said Environment personnel have monitored over 300 whales and dolphins which now thrive in the bay area.

Whales and dolphins were spotted in Sarangani Bay by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region XII and its partners during conduct of marine mammal monitoring in the protected seascape from February 2-5, 2021. (DENR-12)

Monday the marine mammals were monitored in the seas off this city and Sarangani province and appeared to have been thriving in the area’s marine environment.

He said personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), General Santos City environment and natural resources office, and the Environmental Conservation and Protection Center of Sarangani jointly conducted monitoring activities from Feb. 2 to 5 and observed the playful mammals in the waters.

In his report, Oloquin said “food hunting and nursing of calves are possible reasons why the whales and dolphins are in the bay,” adding that their team saw 20 to 30 short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), eight Risso’s dolphins, 80 to 100 Spinner dolphins, and 150 to 200 Fraser’s dolphins.

Most of them, she said, were seen on various occasions in the coastal waters between Malapatan and Glan towns in Sarangani. The latest dolphin and whale sighting in the  Bay is among the biggest reported by DENR-Region 12.

In August 2019, a monitoring team spotted around 270 marine mammals in different sites of the bay. Among the threats to the marine mammals observed are the throwing of hazardous garbage such as polyethylene terephthalate or PET bottles, cellophane, plastic wrappers, and other non-biodegradable materials.

Oloquin also noted the presence of fishing vessels conducting various activities within the bay that could harm the cetaceans and other marine organisms.

She said their team has decided to conduct monthly marine mammal monitoring “to ensure the strict protection and conservation” of the SBPS starting this year.