PHUKET: The sighting of a Bryde’s whale by tourists in the Surin Islands National Park off the coast of Phang Nga, north of Phuket, has raised hopes that the marine environment off the Andaman coast is improving.
The whale was spotted swimming alongside a boat operated by Kuraburi-based Sabina Tours.
“The tourists, who came from Phuket and Phang Nga to join the tour, were very excited when they saw the whale swimming alongside,” said Sompong Mohdee, owner of Sabina Tours.
“The whale was about 10 meters long. I believe this one is the longest one we have ever seen in the area. Some people took photos and some even took videos. They were all happy to see the whale.”
Officials have yet to confirm whether or not the whale was the largest Bryde’s whale reported in the area, but hailed the sighting as a good sign and called for people to step up their efforts to preserve marine life.
“The whale sighting shows that the Andaman marine environment is improving, especially at the Surin Islands,” said Dr Pongpayak Sriya, chief of the Surin Islands National Park.
Dr Pongpayak urged tourists to be mindful of their actions during nature tours, and called for them not to litter the on the islands or the sea.
“I urge everyone to keep the water clean for us and the marine animals. At the very least, do not throw trash into the sea or litter on any of the islands during your visit,” he told the Phuket Gazette.
“By keeping the sea and the islands clean, we can hope to enjoy more whale sightings in the area, and that’s what tourists come to see.”
— Kritsada Mueanhawong