Koh Chang – Turning into a Dolphin Death Zone

I often receive emails from visitors to Koh Chang asking where they can see dolphins.   Well, here’s one for you.   This is one of NINE that have been found on Koh Chang recently.

My reply to the question of where to see dolphins is usually head to Oasis Seaworld in Chantaburi, that’s the only place where you can guarantee to see them – although they do inhabit the waters near Koh Chang.

However, it appears that more visitors are now getting their wish full-filled and are seeing dolphins on Koh Chang.   And therein lies the problem.   Dolphins should not be ON Koh Chang, they should be in the sea around / off / close to / near or surrounding Koh Chang.

There is something very, very wrong (I almost said ‘fishy’) going on off the shores of Koh Chang.   Over the past couple of weeks bodies of dead dolphins have been washing up on the shores of Koh Chang regularly and I doubt it is a mass suicide.

In late June the bodies of seven dolphins were found washed up in various places – Dan Kao & Ao Sapporot on the East coast.   Pearl Beach, Chai Chet, Kai Bae and Lonely beach on the West coast.     From the photos I’ve seen most of the bodies were in pretty good condition and the cause of death was presumed to be that the dolphins were caught in fishermen’s nets.

Yesterday afternoon, 6 July, a young dolphin – just over a meter long was washed up at KP Huts on Klong Prao beach.   Again the body was intact and there was some bruising to the body but no obvious cause of death.

Then today, about an hour ago I found a body of an adult dolphin washed up in the same area, about 100 metres south of KP Huts.   The cause of death seemed pretty clear as unlike the other bodies, this dolphin had been butchered.   As you’ll see from the photos below the meat has been cut off it as the head and tail remain intact, as does the skin but the body has gone leaving just the spine showing.   There are straight cuts around the back of its head and tail which indicate a knife has been used, possibly by a machete weilding giant killer octopus but more likely by man.

Update: What’s almost as unnerving as having nine dead dolphins wash up on the beach is that for some unknown reason the authorities aren’t interested in removing the remains of this one.   Very strange – maybe this a dead dolphin too far.   At the time of writing, it’s been over 5 days now since I first saw it and it is still there, sitting on the sand, with tourists walking past.   Although it’s pretty much down to the skeleton now.

Update 2: We’re now 6 days into ‘Decomposing Dolphin Watch’ so I added a few more photos below the originals.

13 July Photos

21 July – I just found out that there was another dead Irrawaddy dolphin, a   2.3 metre long adult pulled out of the sea last week.   So make that 10 dead dolphins in the space of just over 2 weeks.


  • Somehow I doubt the mafia were the ones out at sea catching dolphins. It’s more likely to be fishermen. At certain times the beach is underwater in the day time, this is because unlike in Europe the tides vary a lot and dont remain the same throughout the month. Eg. Visit now and the beach is under water most of the day, and low tide is at night. Or Visit in May and it will be low tide all day and high tide all night.

  • Terrible to see this dolphin. I hate to see this dolphin killed! is It must be the Koh Chang mafia behind it. There is a strange atmosphere on this island and it is much too expensive. You only have half days on the beach (the other half is the beach under water) and I never saw dirtier hotels here. Never again Koh Chang!

  • Terrible pictures… I live on Koh Chang, not far from K.P.Huts, but didn’t see this. But very sad that people can do this

  • Mysteries of dolphin deaths exist in many places. Here In Thailand I suspect these were net caught and drowned. One was skinned for its meat while the others were dumped back into the sea. Without veterinarian style autopsies a true cause of their deaths will never be known.

  • shocking pictures…. I wondered why we do not see dolphins so often anymore, I was told that Thai would never fish dolphins, or eat them…. well obviously this information was wrong.Surprised an more shocked! I agree it is not good publicity for Koh Chang, but it might be a great way to get authorities to wake up!!!

  • Tourists will accept that sometimes dolphins die. And sometimes the death isn’t from natural causes but from fishermen’s nets. That can happen anywhere. But not often you get nine dying in the same manner in under 2 weeks.

    What visitors won’t be so happy about is if the authorities don’t do anything about it or don’t even bother to remove the remains of a dead one off the beach. The body of this one is still on the beach, over 48 hours since I first saw it. It is under 100 metres from three big resorts so lots of other people must have seen it and also smelt it too. Obviously no-one cares about finding out how it died or moving it.

  • Why do you put the photo like that of the dolphin on the website. Please it will stop the tourists visiting and we must help together to show Koh Chang to our guests. Not only the bad thing like the dead animal that can happen anywhere in this world.

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