Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Dead Bryde's whale spurs eco-tourism museum plan

Jun 21. 2019
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By Suwannee Bandisak
The Nation

The carcass of a Bryde’s whale found floating off Surat Thani province earlier this week has inspired the establishment of a museum of its species.

“We will set up a museum as an eco-tourism attraction in Surat Thani,” the province’s governor Wichawut Jinto said on Friday.

He was speaking after he ordered an autopsy on the Bryde’s whale, which was 10.80 metre long and weighed at least 10 tonnes.

Watchara Sakornwimon, a veterinarian from the Marine and Coastal Resources Research and Development Centre, the Central Gulf of Thailand, led the autopsy.

The team found bruises around the tail and head, pointing at the possibility that the whale might have been hit by a blunt object, possibly fishing equipment.

The veterinarian team also collected samples from its kidney and liver to determine the toxicity level.

The body of the whale was found in the sea off the southern province of Surat Thani on Thursday.

“I am sad about its death,” said a fisherman who was the first to spot the body.

Identifying himself only as Pas, he said Bryde’s whales had long lived in the area. “We respect them because despite their sheer big size, they have never harmed any human,” Pas said.

He added that the presence of Bryde’s whale also reflected the abundance of his hometown.

Pas said Bryde’s whales also helped attract tourists, offering locals a chance to earn supplementary income.

Department of Marine and Coastal Resources’ director-general Jatuporn Buruspat said there had been about 60 Bryde’s whales in Thai waters. “But this year, three of them were found dead,” he said.

The first death was recorded in Samut Sakhon, and the second was in Samut Prakan.

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