Alexa Marium, a lovely animal dies after eating plastic

Dhaka, Tuesday   17 September 2019


Marium, a lovely animal dies after eating plastic

 International Desk

 Published: 11:00 PM, 18 August 2019   Updated: 11:02 PM, 18 August 2019

File Photo

File Photo

The baby dugong, name Marium which washed up in waters off southern Thailand months ago, has died from a stomach infection caused by swallowing bits of plastic. Marium's death once again casts a spotlight on plastics in the ocean.

An 8-month-old dugong, which had won the hearts of many people after being found on a southern beach in Thailand in April, has died from an infection caused by plastic in her stomach and intestines, officials said on Saturday.

The dugong is a species of marine mammal similar to the American manatee and can grow to about 3.4 meters (11 feet) in length. It is listed as a vulnerable species by wildlife conservation organizations.

Marine biologists said the baby dugong's death was caused by a combination of both shock and indigestion.

The female dugong — a large ocean mammal — was named Marium. She gained celebrity status in Thailand after images of biologists rescuing and feeding her milk and seagrass went viral on social media.

According to Chaiyapruk Werawong, the head of Trang province marine park, Marium died just after midnight after going into shock as efforts to resuscitate her failed. "She died from a blood infection and pus in her stomach," he said, adding that small amounts of plastic waste were found in her intestinal tract.

Last week, Marium was found injured on the shore. Jatuporn Buruspat, Director General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, told the Agence France-Presse news agency that she was allegedly being chased, and had been attacked, by a male dugong during the mating season.

Marium was brought in for treatment in an artificial sea on Libong Island in Krabi province.

Nantarika, one of the veterinarians who Agence France-Presse reported was treating Marium, said on Facebook that she doesn’t want the mammal’s death to be meaningless.

“She taught us how to love,” she said. “And then went away as if saying please tell everyone to look after us and conserve her species.”

Officials in Thailand announced they would begin a “Marium Project,” to help reduce ocean plastic and better conserve their dugong population.