This sperm whale’s cause of death is rare – old age

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 04 2022 04:07 PM

This sperm whale’s cause of death is rare – old age 1
This sperm whale’s cause of death is rare – old age 2
This sperm whale’s cause of death is rare – old age 3
This sperm whale’s cause of death is rare – old age 4
This sperm whale’s cause of death is rare – old age 5

Courtesy: Darrell Blatchley

Courtesy: Darrell Blatchley

Courtesy: Darrell Blatchley

Courtesy: Darrell Blatchley

Courtesy: Darrell Blatchley

DAVAO CITY – It took one week for Davao-based marine biologist and bone collector Darrell Blatchley to remove the bones of a large, dead sperm whale that washed ashore in Barangay Sugal, Jose Abad Santos town in Davao Occidental.

The 40-ton carcass, discovered on May 21 along the shoreline of Sitio Sakalig, was pulled to the sand for experts to conduct a necropsy and give it a proper burial.

Blatchley, who has always been tapped to debone dead, large marine mammals in the Davao region and neighboring provinces, said the cause of death was rare.

For 12 years, he had recovered 75 whales and dolphins in the Davao gulf that died mostly due to dehydration or had swallowed plastic, non-biodegradable wastes.

"He joined the only 15 that actually died of natural causes – old age. He lived a long life and I will know his age later in the preservation," he said.

The 60-foot sperm whale he named "Dakel Tamuay" – a native term for old giant – is the biggest that Blatchley has deboned and buried.

The bones were shipped to Davao City to be preserved and displayed at Blatchley's D' Bone Collector Museum.

He has always advocated for proper waste disposal and taught people that plastic wastes that end up into the ocean could likely be eaten by marine mammals and eventually kill them.

Blatchley was the UNESCO Plastic Initiative Award winner in 2019. – Report from Hernel Tocmo