A young Phuket dolphin is frolicking with tourists off Phi Phi, Thialand as marine biologists wonder about its future.
The positive of the dolphin’s recovery from illness is matched by continuing concern for the region’s underwater life, especially turtles.
Dr Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre said: ”An aquarium would be ideal for this dolphin but we would prefer to return it to its family.”
The dolphin, which does not yet have a name, has grown accustomed to people and enjoys company at Ao Lo Dalam, Phi Phi.
Just two years old and weighing 15 kilos, the dolphin was rescued from Karon beach on Phuket after it became separated from its herd, or pod.
After a week recovering at the biological centre on Cape Panwa in eastern Phuket, the dolphin was eased back into the sea off Phi Phi.
”Since then, he has been flourishing,” Dr Kongkiat said. ”We would keep him at the centre if we had adequate facilities of the kind you find in large aquariums.
”Ideally, he should be reunited with his pod as soon as possible.”
Marine biologists are seeking the young dolphin’s family for a reunion.
Meanwhile, locals on Phi Phi have been warned that the dolphin is there and buoys with flags stake out an area where he spends most of his time.
”Nets and propellers are still an increasing danger,” Dr Kongkiat said.
A dead turtle caught in a net was found by divers who cleaned up Phuket’s Patong Bay yesterday.
Royal Thai Navy divers, the Thai Diving Association and Phuket volunteers pulled 250 kilos of rubbish from the sea off Patong.
”From the microchips we have been placing in turtles, we’ve calculated that five years ago, two or three percent of turtles were killed by nets or by eating plastic garbage.
”That figure has now risen to 10 percent,” he said. The rubbish comes not just from Phuket but from neighboring countries and passing ships.