Two fishermen spotted the 60-foot (18-meter) carcass on a Davao-area beach early Saturday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said. He had “multiple injuries” and was “most likely already lifeless” when he reached shore, the DENR added.
It is the second dead sperm whale found in the Philippines this year and the discovery came just a day after a young female washed up in Tel Aviv, Israel. Earlier this month, an adult male and a newborn calf were found dead in the Florida Keys.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists sperm whales as “vulnerable” and at “high risk of extinction in the wild”. In the United States, they are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Experts are investigating the cause of death of the whale found in Davao and the autopsy is expected to last at least 36 hours.
Earlier this year, another dead sperm whale, measuring over 42 feet (about 13 meters), washed ashore on Mindanao, the Philippines’ second-largest island – stunning residents and baffling Filipino marine biologists who say they could not determine the cause. death despite collecting tissue samples and dissecting the whale’s stomach for clues.
An autopsy of a dehydrated and emaciated young whale showed pieces of nylon rope and single-use plastic cups – commonly used by local food vendors – in its stomach. His stomach and intestines were otherwise empty.
Removing dead whales is a daunting task due to their size. Letting nature take its course is one option, but harmful gases that naturally accumulate can be dangerous.
In Davao, DENR Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel A. Evasco ordered the area cordoned off.
“The carcass should be disposed of immediately as its odor may be poisonous and dangerous to the community,” he said.