CEBU CITY - A 20-foot whale shark (butanding) suffered scratch wounds on its face and tail after it got trapped in a fish pen in Barangay Bato, Toledo City last Monday afternoon.
On orders of the mayor and the city’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), the butanding was released in the open sea late Tuesday afternoon.
It was the second time that a butanding got trapped in the fish pen owned by Eddie Bulibuli in Sitio Looc II in Bato.
Much as he wanted to release the whale shark after it got caught in the mesh past 5 p.m. last Monday, Bulibuli told local officials that he could not let it out of the pen because of its size and weight.
PO3 Ruxam Enerio of the Toledo City Police Station said the butanding weighs around 600 kilograms.
Immediately after learning about the incident, Toledo Mayor Rudy Espinosa ordered the release of the butanding from the fish pen at 10 a.m. last Tuesday.
Mayor Espinosa told Sun.Star Cebu that the butanding had a scratch wound on its face and tail when he saw it.
Espinosa said Bulibuli called him to ask for help in bringing the whale shark back to the sea.
With the help of Mainggit barangay captain Dario Surig, the butanding was released at 5 p.m. last Tuesday.
The condition of whale sharks in the southern towns has become a concern among environmental protection advocates and marine biologists, amid the attention that Cebu’s gentle giants have been getting from local and foreign tourists.
Earlier this year, a photo showing a woman standing on the back of one of the butandings in Oslob town caused an uproar in social networking sites.
The incident prompted town officials, government agencies and non-government organizations to conduct activities that were meant to raise public awareness on the protection of the creatures. (FMG/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 09, 2012.