Roy Mejorada (left), scientific research specialist at Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape, examines the dead sea cow. He discovered that the mammal had swallowed nylon threads from discarded fishing nets that had become entangled in seagrass. (PHOTOS BY SBPS/DENR SOCCSKSARGEN)

KORONADAL CITY – A young Dugong (Dugong dugon) or sea cow was killed by fishing nylon threads in Glan, Sarangani province.

It was discovered that nylon threads from a discarded fishing net that became entangled in seagrass were swallowed by the sea cow that was found lifeless a few kilometers off the coast of Barangay Tango last Sunday, February 11.

Cirilo A. Lagnason, Jr., protected area superintendent (PASu) of the Sarangani Bay Protected Marine Landscape (SBPS), said a fisherman named Eddie Garcia found the dead mammal and immediately notified members of Bantay Dagat of Glan town about this.

Roy Mejorada, scientific research specialist II at SBPS and veterinarian, showed that the 60-kilogram marine mammal did not suffer any external injuries or physical trauma, except for some light scratches on its back.

READ: Fishermen discover dead sea cow in Baclayon town, Bohol

Nylon threads found in the Dugong's stomach.

This photo shows the nylon threads that were found inside the Dugong's stomach. (PHOTOS BY SBPS/DENR SOCCSKSARGEN)

A necropsy performed on the mammal, however, revealed that it “suffered an obstruction in the sphincter between the first and second stomach”, caused by nylon fishing threads that became entangled in the seagrass it swallowed.

Lagnason said frothy exudates – a fluid released by an organism through pores or wounds – observed in the dead sea cow's lungs indicated that the cause of death was drowning.

READ: Stranded sea cow rescued in Palawan

Fishermen and villagers gather around the dead sea cow

Fishermen and villagers gather around the dead sea cow in Sarangani. (PHOTOS BY SBPS/DENR SOCCSKSARGEN)

“This unfortunate incident is a call for awareness about the dangers of discarding fishing gear and irresponsible waste disposal to our marine wildlife,” said Lagnason. “This also highlights the critical role that the local community and government agencies play in conserving marine biodiversity.”

The dugong was taken to the Wildlife Rescue Center in Barangay Ladol, Alabel, for taxidermy processing to aid future educational, research and conservation purposes.

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