Marine officials, searching for a rare white Omura whale spotted in the Andaman Sea on January 1, have failed to locate it. However, they have located another 4 Omuras off Phuket, according to a Bangkok Post report.
Pinsak Surasawadi, chief of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, says a search of the water from the lower part of Phang Nga bay to Koh Racha in Phuket, along with a drone search around Phuket’s Koh Maithon, in addition to interviewing tourists and fishermen, have failed to locate the albino whale.
“Unfortunately, we have not yet found the albino one. But at least, we can collect information about Omura’s whales for future study.”
In the search for the rare white Omura, the team did locate more Omuras. One was found off Koh Phi Phi as it rose to the surface of the water to breathe 3 times before swimming away.
The second was located east of Koh Maithon, with the team able to follow it for around half an hour. In that time, it surfaced six times in five minutes to breathe, with officials noting it appeared to be healthy.
The team also found Omura whales near Koh Hae and collected environmental DNA and photos to determine the Omura whale population. The declining Omura population means the marine creatures are on a list of protected animals under Thailand’s Wild Animal Conservation and Protection Act.
Meanwhile, academic Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine biologist at Kasetsart University, has hailed the discovery of the Omuras, saying it’s the largest pod ever seen in Thailand.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post