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A Phuket turtle at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre

Dolphin, Turtles, Whale Shark Join List of Dead

Monday, October 15, 2012
PHUKET: The deaths of a dolphin, three turtles and a seven-metre whale shark at the weekend have illustrated the Phuket region's losing battle to save its marine environment.

The dolphins and the turtles died at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre at Phuket's Cape Panwa while the male whale shark washed onto a beach at Koh Lanta in Krabi.

''We did our best to save them [the dolphin and turtles],'' said marine biologist Dr Patcharaporn Kaewmong. ''We wil autopsy the dolphin to see what led to its death.''

The 1.2 metre female spinner dolphin was taken to the Phuket centre on September 27.

A virus apparently caused it to become separated from its pod and it swam close to shore at Mai Khao, one of Phuket's quieter west coast beaches.

Turtles, many with flippers or carapaces severely damaged, have washed ashore in greater numbers than ever before at Phuket's west coast beaches this monsoon season.

Those with pierced shells are usually unable to dive to feed and need constant care.

The seven-metre whale shark became the latest marine creature to be beached yesterday at Klongnin, Koh Lanta. Locals and marine biologists buried the carcass after taking DNA samples.

Awareness of the threats to the Phuket region's marine inhabitants has never been greater. Hundreds of volunteers turmed out for a Go-Eco dive on September 30 that cleared dumped nets and trash from Phuket's surrounding coral reefs.

However, precise preventative action is required to stop the dumping and save the turtles especially. Turtles once hatched at all Phuket beaches, but no longer.

Local authorities mostly declare an interest in a ''livable and sustainable'' Phuket and sometimes even propose erecting more statues of dolphins to show they mean what they say.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


"A virus apparently caused it.." The sea around Phuket has non hope till the people will understand that CAN NOT pour the waste water into the sea without any (or insufficient) treatment. And in the next years the situation can only get worst.

Posted by dave on October 15, 2012 11:15


It would be interesting to have the pollution readings around Phuket to see if there is any connection between the increased death of marine life and pollution.

However since the authorities, in their infinite wisdom, decided not to disclose them anymore, one is just left guessing.

In my years of diving in and around Phuket I must say that the amount of garbage on the sea floor obviously thrown overboard from boats is staggering.

Locals obviously regard the sea as a dumping ground and it's little wonder marine life is suffering.

Unless you've seen a tourist hauling userd car tires, batteries and oil cans with them, this can't be pinned on them either.

Fully expect it to though.

Posted by Andrew on October 15, 2012 13:54


A Dave: Totally agree. In another PW article, there is a company expanding its portfolios to build more condos on Phuket, like we need more condos, less scenery, more congestion & more pollution.

Posted by Logic on October 15, 2012 14:24


Pollution isn't ripping turtle fins off and washing up whale sharks. It's the by-catch of drag nets by the ubiquitous trawlers creating an underwater gridlock for marine life. Without regulation and/or obliteration of these nets there will be only one conclusion.

Posted by Saildiving on October 15, 2012 19:17


Add to these the sperm whale washed up on Bang Sak Beach, Khao Lak, in August; the coral bleaching in the Similans and Surins and out of season trawl net dumping that exacerbates the problems in these areas; and Southern Thailand, particularly the Andaman seaboard has become a distinctly unfriendly marine environment. If the ostrich mentality of the Thai government towards marine conservation continues, this region will need to find other alternatives to its short-sighted tourism policies.

Posted by Alan on October 16, 2012 00:35


Everyday an unlimited amount of boats trawl an ocean no deeper than a lake, an increase in speedboats on the reefs and a huge rise in seafood restaurants.
The ocean here has been sold out!

Posted by Aquaman on October 16, 2012 12:48

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