Baby shark that DROWNED when it got stuck in a discarded canvas rice sack is found in Thailand

  • Black tipped reef shark was found dead in the waters around Maya Bay, Thailand 
  • The animal was stuck inside a canvas sack that was previously used to store rice
  • It trapped the shark and stopped it from being able to swim effectively  
  • As a result of being stationary the animal was unable to pass water over its gills and drowned  
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A young blacktip reef shark has been found dead after getting stuck inside a bag that was left to float in the ocean. 

The animals’s head passed through a hole in the sack but it then became snared around the doomed shark’s body.

It is believed the animal died after becoming unable to swim and pass water over its gills to receive oxygen and tragically drowned.  

The shark was found in the waters of Thailand’s idyllic Maya Bay on the island of Koh Phi Phi Ley, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2000 film, The Beach.   

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Thailand’s idyllic Maya Bay on the island of Koh Phi Phi Ley was the scene and has become the latest location to showcase the devastating impact plastic pollution is having on marine wildlife. The animal was stuck inside a canvas sack that was previously used to store rice

Diving instructor Andrew Hewett found the stranded creature floating in the waters around Maya Bay at the weekend.

It is believed the canvas sack was once used to sell rice before being discarded.

After becoming lodged inside the bag the shark was unable to swim and eventually drowned.  

The tragedy comes just weeks after it was discovered that dozens of blacktip reef sharks swimming in the area for the first time since it was closed to the public in May.  

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Wildlife officials are now investigating the incident and are also continuing their efforts to reduce the negative impact of tourism on the local wildlife population. 

Worapot Lomlim, chief of Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park, said: ‘We have been notified about this. I have ordered officers to investigate to see if the shark was caught or if it became stuck inside the bag by itself.

‘A lot of blacktip reef sharks have been found in Maya Bay during the ongoing closure of the area.’


The amount of plastic in the oceans is expected to triple in just ten years, a report issued by the UK government in March 2018 warned.

This key environmental problem risks being ‘out of sight, out of mind’ with more known about the surface of Mars and the Moon than the deep sea bed, it added.

The toll of plastic pollution in the sea could be 150million tonnes by 2025 – treble the 50million tonnes estimated in 2015. 

Our oceans store carbon dioxide and heat while producing oxygen and food, the Foresight Future of the Sea Report stressed. 

On the growing blight of plastic pollution, the document warned this will leave a physical presence, accumulating on coasts or in particular areas of ocean.

The report also warned plastic litter on coasts can increase the risk of dangerous bacteria in the water, such as E.coli. 

It said efforts to reduce plastic pollution should focus on stopping it entering the sea, developing new biodegradable materials and public awareness campaigns. 

The tragedy comes just weeks after it was discovered that dozens of blacktip reef sharks swimming in the area for the first time since it was closed to the public in May (pictured) 

Marine biologist Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat said Maya Bay was starting to recover since the beach had been closed to the public earlier this year. 

However, last month officials extended the ban and closed the beach indefinitely.

Dr Thon said: ‘Sharks need to be able to swim properly to be able to breathe. This shark couldn’t swim, so she drowned.

‘When she went into the bag, she was struggling to go forward. But the bag didn’t fall off, slowly killing her.

‘Look at her eyes, you will know how curious she is, it’s like she’s asking why she has to die. This image indicates very clearly how much garbage hurts the sea.

‘The bag may have floated from the island, from the shore, or from the land that is away from the sea and came by river. 

‘Where’s the bag from? I can’t answer that, but I can say that the bag killed the shark.’ 

Blacktip reef sharks can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 metres) long and they prefer shallow water and are often found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. 


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