MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has signed three laws establishing multispecies marine hatcheries in…
Stress kills the dugong when it consumes marine trash.
The dugong (also known as a sea cow), which was discovered dead on October 19 near the shore of Barangay Boroc-boroc in the municipality of Belison in Antique province, may have become stressed after consuming marine debris.
Merlyn Geromiano, a researcher with National Museum 6 (Western Visayas), claimed in an interview on Tuesday that a necropsy performed on October 21 revealed the presence of pollutants inside the mammal’s stomach and intestines, including threads, sack fragments, and even fishing hook and line.
“The dugong could have been stressed out by the hook and line piercing the walls of its stomach and intestines,” she said.
Geromiano went on to say that the dugong must have unintentionally consumed the sea detritus for food.
She said that the bruises can possibly be the result of the choppy waves, saying “It could also be plausible that when it surfaced, it crashed with a fishing boat that it had bruises on various sections of its body.”
According to reports from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resource Office (PENRO) and the Community Environment and Natural Resource Office (CENRO) in Belison, the dugong may be nursing a suckling as a result of the milk being secreted from its teat, according to Geromiano.
The sea mammal had been dead for hours, thus the milk was not visible during the necropsy.
“Coastal residents shouldn’t try to grab a baby dugong if they ever encounter one. Instead, she suggested that they just leave it to exist as wild creatures in the ocean.
She highlighted that because the dugong is a critically endangered creature that must be maintained, coastal residents and everyone else must be accountable for the disposal of their garbage.
The necropsy was performed by the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Council in Tigbauan, Iloilo, in collaboration with the National Collection, which will keep the dugong in its museum.
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