PATONG, PHUKET: Marine biologists were unable to save a wounded dolphin found clinging to life off Patong Beach yesterday.
Veterinarian Patcharaporn Kaewmong of the Phuket Marine Biological Center’s endangered species unit responded to reports of a beached dolphin just before noon yesterday.
Arriving at the scene off Loma Park, Ms Patcharaporn found the 60-kilogram, 2.2-meter spotted dolphin in weakened condition, but still alive.
Jet-ski operators were using life jackets to support the animal’s body in the shallows when the PMBC team arrived.
The decision was made to treat the dolphin at the PMBC, but the animal died shortly after making the long trip to Cape Panwa in the back of a pick-up truck.
During initial examination Ms Patcharaporn found festering wounds on its dorsal and pectoral fins.
“I cannot say whether the wounds were from fishing equipment, as running aground can also cause similar wounds. Plus, it was already in a weak state before it died.
“Some teeth were worn away or broken, so I assume it was fully mature. For its age the animal was quite thin. Its bones were clearly visible,” she said.
She estimated the dolphin to be over 25 years old.
The spotted dolphin’s typical lifespan is thought to be about 40 years.
“I will do an autopsy to try and find out the cause of death and its bones will be kept for further study,” Ms Patcharaporn said.
— Pimwara Choksakulpan
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