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Phuket marine experts have ‘Hope’ for rescued newborn dwarf sperm whale

Phuket marine experts have ‘Hope’ for rescued newborn dwarf sperm whale

PHUKET: A newborn male dwarf sperm whale rescued offshore Khok Kloi, in Phang Nga province north of Phuket, is now recovering at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC).

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Tuesday 6 August 2019, 06:31PM

The newborn, about one metre long and weighing about 15kg, was rescued by villagers at Baan Nai Rai Beach at about midday on Sunday (Aug 4), explained PMBC Chief Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong.

The newborn and his mother had both beached themselves.

“The villagers moved the whales to floating fish pens until vets from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) arrived,” Dr Kongkiat told The Phuket News today (Aug 6).

The mother, about 2.4 metres long and weighing some 150kg, had wounds from abrasions from the sand which had started to become infected.

She did not survive, Dr Kongkiat said.

The whale mother’s baby boy was brought back to the PMBC, where he is being cared for by Dr Patcharaporn Kaewmong and Dr Pathompong Jongjit, Dr Kongkiat added.

The baby dwarf sperm whale has been named Hope by officers at the centre.

“He is still weak and still needs support to swim,” Dr Kongkiat said today.

“But he drinks his milk very quickly, so that it is a good sign. He doesn’t spill any. He can drink 240cc of milk in less than five minutes,” he added.

Dr Kongkiat expressed concern for the skin abrasion wounds across Hope’s body, much like those found on his mother.

“He has some wounds on his body and I have been told he has an infection. His wounds are from being beached on shore. The infection might be the same illness that afflicted his mother,” Dr Kongkiat explained.

“We have look after him and with constant care, and continue to feed him supplements to make him strong as soon as possible so he can be released,” Dr Kongkiat said.

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