TUGUEGARAO CITY , Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is investigating the cause of death of a butanding (whale shark) that washed ashore in the Port of San Vicente in Sta. Ana, Cagayan last Sunday.
BFAR regional director Jovita Ayson confirmed to The STAR that the dead creature was a whale shark.
She said the 22-foot long shark that belongs to the Rhincodontidae family was too weak to return to the open sea but residents tried to push the heavy animal to deeper waters.
She said the whale shark had no sign of external injuries but was apparently dying when it washed ashore.
Ayson said she has sought for a fish pathologist to determine the cause of death of the creature before authorities bury the dead fish.
Sta. Ana police chief Senior Inspector Darwin Urdani said a Navy sailor earlier spotted the whale shark on the beach.
It was the first time residents in the town have seen a real whale shark.
Whale sharks have become a tourist attraction in Oslob, Cebu and Donsol, Sorsogon where there are many sightings.
The government has banned the slaughter, catching, selling, importation, and export of the fish since 1998.