LAST February 15, 1010, alert divers in Batangas found the grisly sight of a floating, mutilated dying, whale shark with its fins removed. According to World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), it condemns the poachers who did the illegal act--as well as all poachers who continue to defy conservation laws. The conservation group calls on all sectors to step up enforcement efforts throughout the Philippine Islands.. WWF's Conservation Programmes VP Joel Palma warns that the many poachers at large "will not be at rest just because we are.”
Press release from WWF:
Batangas, the Philippines – An 18-foot long whale shark (Rhincodon typus), de-finned and fighting for life, was found floating belly-up amidst the rough waters of Bahay Kambing, a sheltered cove in the municipality of Tingloy. Its twin pairs of dorsal and pectoral fins were neatly sliced off – the soft, white flesh glistening in the morning rays. Knife-marks were evident all over its tail – mercifully too think to cut through.
“Scuba divers from Mabini’s Acacia Resort first discovered the mutilated shark on the morning of 15 February,” recounts Casita Isabel resort owner Linda Reyes-Romualdez. “The shark was towed to nearby Caban cove, whose waters were more placid. Together with a Bantay Dagat unit, volunteers splinted the shark by flanking it with bamboo poles and installing a net underneath to minimize further injuries. We wanted to ease its pain.”
Sadly, its wounds were too great – and the shark, nicknamed Tingloy Baby, died the next day. The incident came right after the conclusion of the third Convention on Migratory Species for Sharks, held in Manila from 8 to 12 February. The talks were held to safeguard shark populations in the Indo-Pacific region. Tingloy Baby was laid to rest in Caban cove. It did not die alone nor in vain.
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