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Dead dugong found in Brgy. San Rafael, Miagao

Dead dugong found in Brgy. San Rafael, Miagao

PB Diofe Fatlaunag, San Rafael, Miagao

A 3.04 meters female dugong (Dugong dugon) with an estimated weight of about 300 kilograms, was found lifeless along the coast of Brgy. San Rafael, Miagao, Iloilo last March 3, 2023. The University of the Philippines Visayas, in coordination with the LGU responded and provided technical assistance in the assessment of the stranded marine mammal. 

Residents of Brgy. San Rafael noticed a stench odor the night before but they did not bother to check where the smell came from since it was windy. However, the smell continued to proliferate until the next morning. Upon further inspection, they saw the unalive dugong at the shore and immediately reported it to Punong Barangay Diofe Fatlaunag. He informed Ms. Eden Nequia, fisheries technologist of the Municipal Agriculture Office about it and Ms. Nequia sought the help of Prof. Jerry Ian Leonida, CFOS Public Service Coordinator. 

 UP Visayas took action and sent the response team that includes Precious Nikola Gaurana, Gency Guirhem, Sofronio Peña, Reggie Alla, and Shirley Golez from the Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanology (IMFO) as well as Julius Lacsamana and Leonardo Mooc from UPV Museum of Natural Sciences (UPV-MNS).

An in-situ necropsy was performed by the response team and initial observations include  that the dugong has a mild hemorrhage on its right lung. However, further investigation is needed to conclude what is the exact cause of death. Hence, the response team collected samples for these analyses. 

The carcass was lined with sack and buried in a nearby lot with the help of the barangay officials. This will ensure easier bone retrieval since the bones will be retrieved for curatorial purposes of the UPV MNS. 

Precious Nikola Gaurana, one of the members of the response team, said, “We hope to institutionalize a Marine Stranding Watch/Response team in order to respond immediately to any incidents involving marine mammals and other species stranded or washed out alive or dead along the coastal areas of Iloilo Province”. 

Continued support coming from the LGU and the barangay is important for timely response in order to save stranded animals from possible death. The responsibility of the university is to provide technical expertise in shedding light into this type of situation.

“We shall provide the local officials reliable data-based information on proper monitoring, evaluation and recommendation for necessary disposal or preservation of these species”, Ms. Gaurana added. 

UP Visayas, together with the LGU, work hand in hand to ensure the conservation and preservation of our marine biodiversity for the future generations. (Photos courtesy of Precious Nikola Gaurana, UPV CFOS-IMFO and PB Diofe Fatlaunag)

©Featured Photo courtesy of Precious Nikola Gaurana, UPV CFOS-IMFOIMFO

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