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4 “dugongs” filmed while searching food in Sarangani Bay

Local News • 11:45 AM Mon Apr 24, 2023
Edwin O. Fernandez
IN SEARCH FOR FOOD. Three sea cows, popularly known as dugong, were monitored searching for food in Sarangani’s sesagrass meadow. (Photo from Gary Cabinta of SBPS/DENR-12)

KORONADAL CITY – Four sea cows, commonly known as dugong, were spotted and filmed in underwater by environmentalists off Sarangani Bay Thursday (April 19), environment officials said.

Using a drone camera, the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS) monitoring office, filmed the three gentle giant sea mammals on Wednesday during the recent coastal and marine habitat monitoring in the protected seascape.

“Three dugongs were spotted by the monitoring team off the coast of Barangay Gumasa in Glan town on April 19 (Wednesday) while the solitary sea cow was documented using the underwater camera in Glan monitoring area on Thursday (April 20),” Maria Elvira V. Lumayag, Sarangani provincial environment and natural resources officer (PENRO), said in a statement.

She said the sightings of the sea cows, considered as the flagship species of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS), manifest the success of the department’s conservation efforts in the bay through the strategic investments in protecting and preserving the marine habitats of the marine mammals.

“The environmental protection is crucial for the survival of marine species like dugongs that depend on sea grass beds as their habitat and feeding grounds,” she added.

Joy C. Ologuin, SBPS protected area superintendent, said that the frequent sightings of sea cows in the SBPS are priceless indicators of the positive impact of investments in conservation.

“They highlight how SBPS continues to thrive as a healthy ecosystem, and serve as a call to action to further invest in protecting our planet for future generations,” she said.

“The sighting of the dugongs clearly shows Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape as a key marine biodiversity area,” Atty. Felix S. Alicer, DENR 12 regional executive director, said.

Alicer, also chair of SBPS Protected Area Management Board, has appealed to the public to help protect Sarangani Bay.

He said the bay needs continued protection not only by the DENR but by other stakeholders, especially those living around the bay.

“The DENR alone cannot carry out its functions effectively without the support of the citizenry and the local government units,” he said in a statement.

Declared a protected area in 1996, the 215,950-hectare bay straddles the towns of Glan, Malapatan, Alabel and Maasim in Sarangani province, and General Santos City.

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