An Irrawaddy dolphin was found dead in the mangrove area of Sitio Can-itum, Brgy. Sampinit in Bago City, Negros Occidental on Sunday, reported Mark Garcia for the Manila Bulletin.

Mark de la Paz, a marine biologist from the University of St. La Salle Center for Research and Engagemnet, said they found the dolphin “in an advanced state of decomposition in the mangrove area.”

Bantay Katunggan, which is a group responsible to guard and maintain the mangrove areas within the community, first received a report last January 3 from fishermen Edwin Flores and Gerome Salay about a dead dolphin floating in the area that seemed to have puncture wounds.

De La Paz said Bantay Katunggan responder Rex Magbanua did not find the carcass, until a certain Antonio Guaro reported the carcass again.

The carcass was already being eaten by maggots and was labeled, “Code 4 stranding” or “badly decomposed.”

“This kind of stranding is described to have obvious signs of bloating, decomposition, skin and blubber peeling off, holes in the carcass, internal organs ruptured or protruding from orifices or holes caused by decomposition or other animals feeding on the carcass,” reported Garcia.

The marine biologist said the dead dolphin was left to rot in the area instead, because moving it might cause hazardous infections for the people near the area.

Irrawaddy dolphins are currently critically endangered in the Philippines, with only nine to 19 species left found in the Bago-Pulupandan area.