High sea temperature affects ‘Butanding’ show

Whaleshark "Butanding". Photo courtesy Wikipilipinas.org
Whaleshark "Butanding". Photo courtesy Wikipilipinas.org

Now you see it now you don’t

By Elmer James Bandol

LEGAZPI CITY (BicolToday.com/May 17, 2012) – Summer heat that raised sea water temperature is now experiencing off the coast of Donsol, Sorsogon and has greatly affected the whale sharks locally known as butanding, now you see it now you don’t.

The apparent disappearance of butanding was noted and explained by Raul R. Burce, project coordinator of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) who assists the local government of Donsol in the conservation of the gentle giant fish in the area.

“Being migratory, whale sharks look for a cooler place thus their movement is affected by the water temperature”, Burce told reporters in a press conference held at Pacific Mall, here last May 2, 2012. However, he brushed aside that butanding is deserting Donsol waters.

Burce mentioned WWF research in January 2012 that in Donsol there are 13 new butanding sighted and identified by way of their tail spots and 48 of which are “residents” of the area while 49 others are said to be “balik-bayan” or returned to the place.


WWF believed that there is no guarantee of being able to see the whale sharks even in the right time or season as their movement may be guided by food availability, water quality and temperature and other environmental factors like weather.

According to Donsol Councilor Ronald A. Malilin, chairman committee on tourism, the municipal government has devised programs for Butanding Interaction that will control the traffic of motorized outrigger banca that might affect the presence of the giant fish.

Malilin said 15 boats with tourists will be dispatched early in the morning and after three hours whether Butanding was sighted or not the boats will return ashore and another 15 will follow up. He said, this is to minimize disturbance and harm to whale sharks considered as “jewels” of the town.

May 14 to 20 is a weeklong Butanding Festival with various programs and activities were lined up including alumni homecoming of Donsol National Comprehensive High School in time for the town fiesta celebration.

Butanding Interaction and eco-tourism programs in Donsol had lured hundreds of local and foreign tourists that significantly raised the environmental awareness of the residents and the economic status of this once sleepy town. [BicolToday.com]

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