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Officials prosecute foreign divers who touched whale shark’s tail

PHOTO: Matichon

A group of foreigners, accused of touching a whale shark’s tail while diving in Phang Nga’s Mu Ko Surin National Park, are to be prosecuted.

The director of the Thai National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department has confirmed the divers will face legal action. Atthaphon Charoenchansa says that on March 31, the divers were seen touching the tip of a whale shark’s tail at Richelieu Rock, in Mu Ko Surin National Park.

The incident was filmed and the footage subsequently went viral on social media, sparking widespread discussion of the divers’ actions. Many netizens criticised the group, saying interacting with marine life in this way could have a negative impact in terms of underwater natural resources and marine creatures.

The fallout led Athit Khayankit, Superintendent of Mu Ko Surin National Park, to report the incident to Atthaphon and ask him to initiate legal action. National Park officials have complied video footage and photos of the incident, which will be used as evidence to prosecute the foreign divers.

It’s understood the divers have admitted to their actions, although none of them have been named by the authorities.

The whale shark is a protected wild animal under the 2019 Thai Wild Animal Preservation and Protection Act.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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