COMPOSITE team of provincial and regional environmentalists doing their monthly monitoring of mammals along Sarangani Bay. PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF DENR
Sarangani Bay in southern Mindanao has proven once again why it is one of the archipelago’s most biodiverse bodies of water, with frequent sightings of marine mammals as reported in the monthly monitoring by a composite team of provincial and regional environmentalists.
The monitoring team recently sighted three marine mammal species, which include spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and dugong or sea cow.
Spinner dolphins, small species known for acrobatic spins when they leap out of the water, are frequently seen near the waters of General Santos City and the towns of Glan, Malapatanand Alabel in the province of Sarangani.
Meanwhile, Risso’s are medium-size, grey-colored dolphins that can grow to about four meters long and have big dorsal fins and linear scars, most frequently sighted near Malapatan and Glan.
The periodic monitoring seeks 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. Data generated from the undertaking can also be used for future research studies and ecotourism activities within the bay.
According to Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, the mammal sightings attests to its abundant marine resources, which provide wildlife a safe and ecologically balanced habitat. He noted that, based on team’s reports, juvenile dolphins and whales can be spotted, indicating they are increasing in number and find the bay a safe haven to nurture their young because of its abundance of food including fish, squid, octopus, jellyfish and shrimps.
Funded by Sarangani’s Sulong Kalikasan program, the province has taken a more active role in supporting conservation efforts of the body of water after which it was named.
The composite monitoring team is composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape, Gen. Santos City Environment and Natural Resources Office and Sarangani’s Environmental Conservation and Protection Center.
In 2019, over 270 dolphins and whales have been spotted during the third quarter monitoring of the bay.
Declared a Protected Seascape by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 1996, Sarangani Bay covers an area of 215,950 hectares and covers the six coastal municipalities of Sarangani and General Santos City.
Regarded as the diving haven of the Soccsksargen Region, its coral resources cover more than 2,293 hectares spread over 20 coral reef areas with about 60 important live hard coral genera, 411 reef species in 46 families. Its seagrass cover is placed at 912 hectares, with 11 species.
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