Injured sunfish rescued and returned to the ocean in southern Philippines


An injured sunfish was rescued after it washed ashore in the Philippines.

The rarely-seen deep-sea creature, also known as mola, was found by residents while it struggled to move on the shallow part of a beach in Davao del Sur province on September 5.

Kind villagers checked on the 7ft-long ocean beast and rushed to take it back to the depths after checking that it was still alive despite a slightly wounded left eye.

Footage shows four men carefully pushing the sunfish into the deeper part of the water while curious neighbours followed them.

Resident Dave Englis said: ‘It was the first time we have seen this kind of fish. It looked scary and strange but my neighbours helped return it to the sea.’

Other mola have been spotted in other regions in the past month due to typhoons or monsoons but they eventually died while this one was still alive when it was pushed back to the water.

The fish swam back to the depths that day but Dave added that it returned to the beach the next day, September 6, when it eventually died.

He said: ‘I think it was lost or could not return to where it was supposed to go. We reported the incident to our officials here.’

The incident was reported to the local wildlife centre who took the sunfish for research and finding the cause of death.

Mola mola, or ocean sunfish, are commonly found in tropical oceans. They are the heaviest of all bony fish, capable of weighing nearly 5,000 pounds. The harmless marine creatures are also known to be curious, and will often approach nearby divers.