ALABEL, SARANGANI– The provincial government has launched a monthly monitoring of marine species inhabiting Sarangani Bay after several dolphin species were sighted flocking in its waters.
Gary John Cabinta, ecosystems management specialist of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources DENR), said the monitoring was aimed to determine the frequency of the species of marine mammals, their usual sighting and location, estimate their population and density, and observe their behavior and activities within the bay.
He said the provincial government of Sarangani funded the monitoring activity on the 16,000- hectare protected seascape of Sarangani Bay, covering the shoreline of Sarangani province and General Santos City purposely for the protection and conservation and eco-tourism development of the bay.
Dr. Roy Mejorada, the provincial program manager of the Environmental Conservation and Protection Center (ECPC), said the monitoring team from DENR and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) sighted three marine mammal species, which included spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, and a “dugong” or sea cow.
He stressed that Spinner dolphins were small dolphins known for their acrobatic spins when they leap or jump out of the water, and were frequently sighted in the waters off Glan, Malapatan, Alabel towns and General Santos City during the monitoring activity last month.
He said Risso’s dolphins were medium-sized, grey-colored dolphins that could grow to lengths of four meters with big dorsal fins and linear scars which are frequently sighted near the coasts of Malapatan and Glan towns.
He added that sea cow dolphins or “dugong” were spotted in barangay Cablalan in Glan which offers a wide expanse of seagrass as their food.
Mejorada explained that baby dolphins and whales were also sighted in Sarangani Bay which could indicate these sea animals now regard the area as safe haven to nurture and feed their offspring.
He said Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon launched the provincial government’s “Sulong Kalikasan” flagship program to protect and conserve the marine resources of Sarangani Bay.
He said the marine mammal monitoring was being conducted quarterly, but Solon provided additional funds to make the monitoring on a monthly basis to enable the monitoring team from DENR and BFAR gather more detailed and comprehensive data.