In an astonishing New Year's Eve encounter off the coast of Phuket in the Andaman Sea, tourists aboard a charter boat witnessed a remarkable sight: a rare pair of Omura's whales, including an incredibly rare all-white individual.
Captured by drone on video and shared with ThaiWhales, a conservation organization, this sighting has been deemed groundbreaking and potentially the first of its kind globally.
Omura's whales, recognized as a distinct species in 2003, are small baleen whales known for their long, slender bodies and distinctively hooked dorsal fins.
First seen alive in 2015, these whales typically inhabit tropical and warm seas, can reach lengths of up to 40 feet, and weigh approximately 44,000 pounds. The all-white Omura's whale spotted near Phuket is not just a rare find for Thailand but potentially a first-ever global sighting, according to environmentalist Thon Thamrongnawasawat.
Following this discovery, Thailand's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources reportedly conducted an extensive search in the region.
Although the unique white whale was not relocated, officials did observe at least four other Omura's whales near Phi Phi Islands, Honeymoon Island, and Coral Island.
Videos shared by Specialist Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong showcase these majestic creatures, including one measuring about 30 feet in length.
This extraordinary event highlights the rich marine biodiversity around Phuket, an island in southwest Thailand, and underscores the importance of ongoing conservation efforts to protect these rare and beautiful creatures.
Photos courtesy of Nat-Pong / Department of Maritime and Coastal Resources and Happy Ours Phuket Charter Team.
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