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Nineteen beautiful new whale sharks have been spotted by the WWF Philippines team at the Ticao-Burias Pass Protected Seascape (TBPPS).

Finally, some good news for the year: nineteen new individual whale sharks have been spotted this 2020. As a promising development in the field of conservation, the new butanding creatures, which are listed as an endangered species, were sighted in the waters of the Ticao-Burias Pass Protected Seascape (TBPPS). 

The TBPPS is one of our country's most critical ecosystems. Home to a wide variety of endangered marine species, the TBPPS is a protected area nestled between Masbate, Sorsogon, and Albay. Because the surrounding provinces have introduced development works that pose a threat to marine biodiversity, the sighting of 19 new whale sharks comes as a hopeful victory for future conservation efforts. 

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This year alone, WWF Philippines has also reported 50 returning individual whale sharks. This makes it a total of 69 unique butanding creatures that have been spotted since January 2020. The total documented number now stands at 733 whale sharks since the region began its monitoring efforts in 2007. 

Since 1998, WWF Philippines has been in partnership with the LGU of Donsol and the Department of Tourism Region 5. They have all participated in operating sustainable tourism activities that have sadly had to be put on hold due to lockdown measures. Yet, despite the quarantine, WWF Philippines maintains its daily whale shark watch and monitoring operations. 

“It’s our obligation as WWF-Philippines to continue monitoring activities, and to let the world know of the whale sharks of Donsol and their importance to their ecosystem,” says WWF-Philippines Donsol Project Manager Jun E. Narvadez. "This is a community effort that helps both the whale sharks and the people of Donsol. Hopefully, by November, we’ll be able to restart our tourism activities again,” added Narvadez.

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