MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has rescued a neonate male dugong (sea cow) that got stranded in the waters of Barangay Binulasan in Infanta, Quezon.
A team from the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), formerly the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, rescued the dugong measuring 1.06 meters long.
BMB director Ma. Theresa Mundita Lim said the young sea cow was found by fishermen Michael and Manuelito Nolledong, who immediately sought help from the local DENR office.
Forester Jeff Cruz, a technical staff of the DENR-Calabarzon office, led the rescue operations.
Lim said the marine mammal got stranded due to low tide.
“The rescued dugong was temporarily transferred to Barangay Dinahican, also in Infanta, to shield it from strong waves but will be released soon when the sea gets calm,” she said.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 She added that BMB personnel led by Rizza Salinas are on standby to help in the release of the dugong back to the sea.
Also called duyong or baboy dagat, sea cows belong to the animal group Sirenia. Like dolphins and whales, they are air-breathing marine mammals.
“They could not stay long underwater; they have to surface from the water to breathe. Since they could not swim fast, they are an easy target of poachers who hunt them with nets, dynamite or spear guns,” Lim said.
Sea cows swim at a speed of five kilometers per hour. They are classified as a critically endangered species.
The hunting, trading, transporting or possession of dugong is punishable with imprisonment from six to 12 years and a fine from P100,000 to P1 million under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.