IN SEARCH OF THE BIG BLUE
The Bohol Sea is one of the marine key biodiversity areas in the Philippines. Out of 26 species of cetaceans confirmed to occur in the Philippines, 18 have been reported in the Bohol Sea. This is home to many large whales including blue whales, sperm whales, Bryde’s and Omura’s whales. Other uncommon species such as the killer whale and beaked whales are also known to occur here. We know very little about these animals, why they come here, what they do, and how many are there.
We launched the project In Search of the Big Blue in 2015 after receiving several reports of sightings of the blue whale. Surprisingly, despite their large size, sightings of this species is not very common. Our main objective is to find these elusive whales and document their occurrence. We aim to photo-identify the whales and determine their movements. To do this, we have been conducting annual boat-based surveys along the northern Bohol Sea between the months of May and June. Although this project focuses on the blue whale, it is also our aim to record the encounters with other cetaceans in the Bohol Sea. We hope to contribute this information to the growing knowledge on whales and dolphins in the Philippines.