Officers arrived at ‘Ao Sai Khu’ bay to find the body of the female dolphin, some 170 centimetres long, with a deep cut across the back of its head, joined by another long gash all the way to its tail, assistant park chief Chaiphat Chuaidaeng told The Phuket News.
“We called officers from the Phuket Marine Biological Center [PMBC] to examine the body and take it back to their office, on Cape Panwa, for further examination,” Mr Chaiphat said.
National park officers are now investigating and collecting evidence in order to file a formal complaint with local police to prosecute the person, or persons, responsible for cutting the dolphin open, Mr Chaiphat added.
“Spotted dolphins are classified as protected animals under the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act 2019,” Mr Chaiphat noted.
One local resident, who asked to be named as ‘Odd Panchatri’, said that he suspected four Myanmar nationals he saw in the area before officers arrived.
“I saw four Myanmar people – two men and two women. One of them was carrying a knife with blood stains, so I asked if they had made the wound. They quickly denied it.
“I told them that I will call the police, then they all ran away,” he said.
The discovery of the dead dolphin yesterday follows park officers expressing concern for a young striped dolphin seen in shallow waters just off Nai Yang Beach on Tuesday.
Lifeguards on the beach tried to encourage the dolphin, about 140 centimetres long, to stay away from the beach, but it kept swimming close to the shore, park officers reported.
Without approaching the dolphin, the officers reported that the young sea mammal looked healthy and did not appear to have suffered any wounds.
The concern was that the young dolphin had become separated from its pod.
Officers believe they have been successful in preventing the dolphin from beaching itself as it has yet to be seen in the area since Tuesday.