The Philippines is an international cetacean hotspot. 26 species of whales and dolphins have been identified in the country, 18 of which have been confirmed in the Bohol Sea. Characterized by a 2000-meter deep trench located less than 5 miles offshore, the Bohol Sea is a perfect corridor to the South China Sea. The proximity of these deep oceanic waters to shore make this an incredibly important site for cetaceans that are typically found much farther offshore.
The Bohol Sea has the highest area of cetacean biodiversity in the country. Species commonly seen include the melon-headed whale, Fraser’s dolphin, spinner dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, short-finned pilot whale, and bottlenose dolphin. Less commonly observed species include the blue whale, Bryde’s whale, Pygmy killer whales, Dwarf sperm whales, and Rough-toothed dolphins.
LAMAVE conducts marine mammal research in the Bohol Sea from January to July, and was the first to conduct a systematic scientific study of cetaceans in this region. We research the social structure, vocal range, and long-term alliances among whales and dolphins using photo-identification, acoustic recordings, and behavioral surveys. In 2012, the LAMAVE research team had over 100 encounters with cetaceans and spent over 220 hours surveying 2000km throughout the region. This included the first recorded sighting of pygmy killer whales in the Bohol Sea since 1992, and the first confirmed sightings of blue whales and rough-toothed dolphins in the Bohol Sea.
A long-term conservation effort in this region is essential to ensure the protection and ongoing survival of these animals. To support LAMAVE’s cetacean project, please click here.