Rare Omura’s whale spotted near Phuket


PHUKET  – A rare Omura’s whale was spotted in the Andaman Sea between Ko He and Ko RachaYai islands in Phuket province on the weekend. Officials from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) have spotted this hard to find whale while training tour operators in proper mooring buoy use.

The DMCR Director General Sopol Thongdee said the existence of this close to extinct marine animal represent the abundance of marine resources in the area, while more efforts are needed to protect marine and coastal resources in Thailand to be free from plastic waste and illegal fishing, in order for more of these rare animals to increase in population.

The general public is asked to report to the DMCR or related agencies should they discover any marine animal in distress or beached. These animals could be saved if help is provided in time.

Omura’s whale is a protected species under the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act B.E. 2562. It was first discovered in 2003 by a Japanese cetologist Hideo Omura, after whom the species is named. Omura’s whale has similar physical appearances to Bryde’s whale albeit smaller.

An adult male Omura’s whale can be as long as 10 meters, while an adult female can be as long as 11.5 meters in size. The whale has 80 to 90 ventral grooves that extend past the umbilicus, while its dorsal fin is taller but less curved compared to a Bryde’s whale.