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Whale bombing unlikely, says biologist

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Whale bombing unlikely, says biologist | Thaiger

PHUKET TOWN: A local marine biologist has cast doubt over local press reports that the whale that washed up on a Koh Racha Yai beach on Monday died as a result of the illegal use of explosives for fishing. Phuket Marine Biology Center (PMBC) biologist Kongkiat Kittiwattawong, who has been contact with island residents by telephone, told the Gazette today that the carcass is still on the beach, but that some villagers had already removed parts of it – including the sections of the head – despite an agreement with Koh Racha Yai islanders to send the bodies of any beached whales to the PMBC for examination. “The head is the most important part of the animal in determining the cause of death,” he explained. K. Kongkiat said the PMBC will send a team to the island to pick up the carcass tomorrow morning, weather permitting. Officials from the center have been waiting since Tuesday for a break in rough sea conditions to travel to the island to study the whale’s body, the remains of which are said to be badly decayed. When asked if he thought the whale could have been caught in a submarine blast wave caused by fishermen detonating explosives under water, K. Kongkiat replied, “I don’t think so. More than 90% of whale carcasses are of animals that died by natural causes – either by disease or old age. “Given the importance of tourism for the island, I don’t think the fishing boats would do reef bombing in the area.”

 

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