Rare whale shark spotted near Pattaya

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A rare whale shark was captured on video in the waters off Pattaya.

Terawatt Thongchai, an 18-year-old crewman on a tourist boat based at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club said he was working June 6 on board a yacht taking a group of tourists to explore Koh Larn. They stopped between Tawaen Beach and Koh Sak for the tourists to fish and enjoy the scenery and received a rare and unexpected sight.

A large whale shark, approximately seven meters long, appeared before the tourists and came so close that they could see its entire body.

Tourists on board used mobile phones to capture the unusual visitor, taking both videos and photos. Showing no fear of humans, the giant shark swam around the yacht for approximately three minutes before disappearing back into the deep sea.

This rare whale shark, approximately seven meters long, swam around a tourist boat for approximately three minutes before disappearing back into the deep sea.This rare whale shark, approximately seven meters long, swam around a tourist boat for approximately three minutes before disappearing back into the deep sea.

Terawatt said that this was the first time in his life he witnessed such a big shark, which is harmless to humans.

The last whale shark reported in the area was seen in December 2011 off Rayong.

Commonly found in the southern gulf and in the Andaman Sea, whale sharks are one of only three known species of filter-feeding sharks. While its mouth has approximately 300 teeth, they are so small, they pose no threat to humans or any large animal. Whale sharks feed on macro-algae, plankton, krill, Christmas Island red crab larvae, and small squid or vertebrates.

Once common in the northern Gulf of Thailand, whale sharks have become so rare that only two others have been reported seen near Pattaya in the past six years.