Killer Whales and Dolphins Emerge in Bohol After Decades
Dolphins and orcas have returned to the waters of Bohol after decades of avoiding the area. Pods of dolphins were spotted in the town of Garcia Hernandez, which has been implementing a lockdown and not allowing tourists for three months now. On July 11, hundreds of dolphins were reportedly seen by a resident of the coastal town.
Meanwhile, in Barangay Cayam, a rare sighting of a pack of orcas or killer whales was spotted on June 29.
Three months into the lockdown, Bohol has significantly fewer tourists, if not zero. This may have allowed marine life to flourish and attract dolphins and orcas.
A killer whale or orca is not actually a whale. It is considered the largest dolphin in the world. In the wild, they are fearsome predators who take on sharks, other dolphins, and blue whales—the world’s largest animal—but rarely attack humans.
Whaling and dolphin hunting has driven the creatures away.
The Philippines has one of the world’s most stringent laws against the hunting and killing of marine creatures. In response to the rampant hunting of whales, sharks, and dolphins in the ’90s, the country enacted the Animal Welfare Act of 1998, which levies heavy penalties on people who mistreat or kill animals.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources likewise issued the Fisheries Administrative Order No. 208, which seeks to conserve rare and endangered marine life by banning the catching, hunting, or transporting of endangered species including turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, or any of their parts. The Philippines is the first country in Southeast Asia to issue such a ban.