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Whale shark found dead in Cavite

Its cause of death is still under investigation

WASHED UP. A whale shark, an uncommon sight in Cavite waters, is found dead on the shore of Manila Bay in Tanza, Cavite. All photos by Arcel Cometa

MANILA, Philippines – A dead young whale shark washed up on the shores of Manila Bay in Tanza, Cavite on September 4, shocking fishermen and villagers in Barangay Amaya.

Found on the beach by a fisherman at around 4:30 pm on Wednesday, the whale shark is 6.5 meters long and around 2 meters wide, according to Provincial Fisheries Officer Ellen Voluntad of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

“It was near the shore, we thought it was some kind of a deadly shark,” fisherman Edgar Biri told Agence France-Presse.

“When we approached, we saw it was not moving anymore.”

Local fisheries bureau veterinarian Marco Espiritu said he would examine the 300 kilogram (660 pound) carcass. He took samples of the whale to find out the animal’s cause of death.

So far, there is no evidence that it died from poaching.

MYSTERY. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has yet to find out how the whale shark died

After samples are taken, the whale shark will be buried in Barangay Sahud Ulan in Tanza.

Whale sharks are not usually sighted in Cavite waters. They are more commonly found in Donsol, Sorsogon; Southern Leyte; Pasacao, Camarines Sur and Oslob, Cebu. 

“Their migratory patterns are far from here, but it may have been following food that’s why it came into the bay,” Espiritu said.

In 2009, he said a dead whale shark about the same size was found at a busy wharf on Manila Bay.

The largest fish species in existence, the whale shark–or butanding as it is called in Filipino–is listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Though the Fisheries Administrative Order No 193 of 1998 bans the catching, sale, purchase and possession of whale sharks in the Philippines, the giant fish continues to be hunted down. Its migration into Philippine waters is a tourist attraction for some coastal resorts. – With reports from Agence France-Presse


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