BANGKOK – A baby dugong nurtured by marine experts after it was found lost near a beach in southern Thailand has died. Biologists believe was a combination of shock and ingesting plastic waste, officials said Saturday.
The baby dugong named “Marium” and became a hit in Thailand after images of biologists embracing and feeding her spread across social media.
Veterinarians and volunteers had set out in canoes to feed Marium up to 15 times a day while also giving her health checks.
Last week, she was found bruised after being chased and supposedly attacked by a male dugong during the mating season.
The baby dugong was brought in for treatment in Krabi Province
An autopsy showed a big amount of plastic waste in the baby dugong intestine. Which could also have played a part in her death as it led to gastritis and blood infection, he said.
“She must have thought these plastics were edible,” Jatuporn said.
The dugong is a species of marine mammal similar to the American manatee. Its conservation status is listed as vulnerable.
Natural Resources Minister Varawut Silpa-arcpha said at a news conference that Marium’s corpse will be stuffed for research purposes. The baby dugong’s death saddens the whole nation and the world.
“ The baby dugong death will remind Thais and people all over the world not to dispose plastic into the oceans.”
Source: The Associated Press