Hundreds of dolphins were trapped in shallow waters near the coast ofBataan province in the Philippines early Tuesday morning. At leastthree dolphins, one of them pregnant, were found dead by residents inthe seaside town of Pilar.
Local officials say although a mass beaching is not unprecedented, itis the first time such a huge number of dolphins have beachedthemselves – an estimated 400 to 500, according to the Philippine CoastGuard.
Fishermen and volunteers have been able to successfully guide most,if not all, of the dolphins back to the open sea, as search and rescuevessels of the Coast Guard continue to patrol the area. Villagers waded chest deep into the water, clapping their hands andsplashing to drive the mammals away while a flotilla of fishing boatsguided them to open water. Malcolm Sarmiento, director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources told local radio that the dolphins may have become disorientated by a”heat wave or disturbance at sea” such as a possible underwaterearthquake which could have damaged their eardrums.
It is common fordolphins to beach themselves in the Philippines but rarely in suchgreat numbers. On this occasion they were melon-head dolphins which areconsidered a “threatened species”, meaning they are likely to becomeendangered in the future.
A Video of the dolphins may be seen at this.