Originally posted on GMA News Online by BERNADETTE A. PARCO
Marine scientists from the University of the Philippines – Diliman found, that despite the alarming increase in the number of marine mammal strandings in the country, there has also been a sharp improvement in the rescue-response to these strandings.
According to UP Professors Lemnuel Aragones, Honey Leen Laggui, and marine biologist Apple Kristine Amor, survival rates for stranded Philippine marine mammals have thus improved, with authorities and coastal area residents cooperating on the matter.
A study undertaken by these scientists from the Marine Mammal Research and Stranding Laboratory – Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology at UP Diliman found that, out of 638 single stranders, 395 or 61 percent were alive when they were found on the beach. Of these, 329 (among which were five baleen whales) were released after a few hours of supportive care.
Some 66 individual marine mammals were rehabilitated, but 48 died and 11 were released. There were also four individuals that underwent long-term care, but three had to be euthanized.
In the last 12 years, at least 329 individuals were rescued, stabilized and released, including the baleen whales. The number is equivalent to 27 animals per year.
The success rate of rehabilitation has also increased from 12 percent in 2010 to 23 percent. The 11 animals successfully rehabilitated was equivalent to almost 1 animal released per year.
Additionally, there are instances in which the animals were rehabilitated in the locality where they were stranded.
The scientists also pointed to the cases of four dolphins, mostly victims of dynamite blasts, that were left acoustically challenged and thus had a very low chance of survival if they are released. These animals are now under human care.