Rare Omura’s whale sighted near Similan Islands, Phang-nga province
An Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai), a rare and little known whale species, has been sighted by a Thai tour guide and tourists swimming in the sea near Miang Island, in the Similan Islands national park of the southern province of Phang-nga.
According to the Facebook page of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, the Omura’s whale, or dwarf fin whale, was sighted by tour guide Mr. Voravi Tankaew, who shot some video of the mammal, which was initially mistaken for a blue whale.
After close examination of the video, Dr. Kongkiart Kittiwattanawong, director of the Andaman Sea Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre in Phuket, said the whale was actually an Omura’s whale, a rare species which is protected under Thai law.
According to Dr. Kongkiart, the Omura’s whale is similar to the Bryde’s whale but smaller, with an adult male measuring a maximum of ten metres and a female 11.5 metres.
Mr. Tatnet Petkong, chief of the Similan Islands national park, said the sighting of the Omura’s whale was a good news, as it is indicative of the environmental quality and rich natural resources in the Andaman Sea.