Orca ‘Killer Whale’ Spotted Off Phuket
A leading marine life specialist has called on people to not panic after a large orca, or “killer whale”, was spotted off Phuket’s west coast on Sunday.
The news broke when Facebook user “Phairot Kong” posted a photo credited to Peerayut Boonchom as well as a video showing the killer whale surfacing alongside what appears to be a fishing boat.
In response, Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine activist who serves as the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Fishery at Kasetsart University in Bangkok and as an official advisor to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), noted that orcas have been sighted around Thailand for at least the 20 years.
Orca males generally grow to six to eight metres long and weigh three to four tons. They usually stay in groups of five to six,” Dr Thon explained in a Facebook post yesterday.
“Many people misunderstand and think that these whales are found only at the poles, but orcas are actually found around the world, including in the tropics,” he wrote.
This was not the first time orcas have been sighted off Phuket, Dr Thon added. “There have been several sightings around Phuket in the past three to four years. The last orca spotted off Phuket was only last year,” he wrote.
“Do not panic or be frightened by these animals. They do not attack humans. Just be happy that orcas are in Thailand and that they visit Phuket from time to time,” Dr Thon advised.