BULA, Camarines Sur: Whales and dolphins here are assigned their own graveyard too.
Dead sea mammals, which are collectively called cetaceans, have been allotted a burial place at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Freshwater Fisheries Center (RFFC) in Barangay Fabrica in this town.
“We have so far a dozen cases of dead whales and dolphins found or stranded in the beaches of Bicol, so we
thought of burying them properly, and that’s how the Cetacean Cemetery came to be,” Noni Enolva, spokesperson for BFAR, in Bicol said.
She added that a dwarf sperm whale found in Ragay in April 2014 was the first cetacean to have been buried in the cemetery; while the latest were two spinner dolphins found in Tinambac town in July this year.
Cetaceans are a widely distributed family of finned and carnivorous aquatic mammals, which include whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Enolva said that when these dead mammals are found, they are brought to the RFFC for necropsy to determine the probable cause of their death by members of the Fisheries Regional Emergency Stranding Responding Team.
Some causes of death include ingestion of plastic and other solid wastes and acoustic trauma, a sensory hearing loss caused by dynamite explosions or seafloor drilling.
“They become deaf due to these explosions and eventually lose their equilibrium, so they drown. A deaf whale is a dead whale,” Enolva said.