Plastic cup found in stomach of dead Bruda whale in Phuket, Thailand

A dead Bruda whale was found floating in Laem Sai Bay to the south of Koh Racha, Phuket province, southern Thailand, on Saturday. Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources conducted an autopsy on the 13 metre whale, which raised more questions than answers.

On Saturday, the department sent out boats to inspect the carcass of a female Bruda whale. The boats towed the whale to the coast of Phuket for an autopsy.

The director-general of the department Atthapol Charoenchansa said the autopsy could not determine the whale’s exact cause of death because its organs were badly rotted.

A single plastic cup was found in the whale’s digestive system. Although the cup itself may not be the cause of the whale’s death, Attaphol said people should avoid throwing plastic into the sea because it can kill marine life.

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Two Nipa palm fruits were found inside the whale. Nipa palm is not a normal part of a Bruda’s diet, but again, it’s not certain whether the fruits had anything to do with the whale’s death.

If you see anyone dumping waste of any kind into the ocean, contact the 24-hour hotline at 1362 to report it. If you see trash on the beach, help to collect and remove it if you can.

In June, a fisherman spotted a young sperm whale stuck inside rubbish near Phuket’s Racha island.

In June last year, 50 people came together to rescue a sperm whale that washed up on Phuket’s Bang Tao Beach covered in oil.

In January last year, a dead Bryde’s whale washed up on Koh Samui’s Choeng Mon beach. In the Gulf of Thailand, there are about 50 Bryde’s whales left in total.

Earlier this year, Thailand’s spot on the list of countries with the highest levels of marine plastic pollution was moved from No.6 to No.10 in light of Thailand’s efforts to combat plastic waste.

However, plastic pollution in Thailand’s waters caused by illegal fly tipping is still a huge problem affecting marine life.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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