By Teng Lauban Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief .
Korondal City — A total of 14 whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) have recently been discovered and documented in Sarangani Bay over the weekend.
The Task Force Butanding Gensan disclosed that the recent documentation of whale sharks in Sarangani Bay made the Philippines as the second largest known population of whale sharks in the world according to the Wildbook for Whale Sharks, a global online library that provides a visual database of whale shark encounters around the world.
These whale sharks or butanding were spotted surface feeding in the waters adjacent to Silway, General Santos City which were officially tagged as P1597, P1598, P1599, P1601, P1603, P1604, P1606, P1607, P1608, P1609, P1614, P1615, P1616, and one (1) in Kiamba, Sarangani (P1605).
This is an addition to two whale sharks P-640 and P-641 that were documented in General Santos City by the Department of Environment of Environment and Natural Resources-12 and the Cenro in the year 2014 making up a total number of 16 whale sharks documented in Sarangani Bay.
The documentation was forwarded to Large Marine Vertebrates (Lamave) Research Institute for individual identification.
In a recent article from Lamave Research Institute, Australia was once recognized as the second largest known population on the database, while Mexico remains the number one global hotspot. (with reports from denr xii)