World & Nation

Young dugong dies in Thailand in blow for vulnerable species

Thailand Dugong Death
In this Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. photo, staff of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources deliver medicine through a feeding tube to Yamil the dugong at Phuket Marine Biological Center. (The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources via AP)

Marine resources officials in Thailand say an ailing 5-month-old dugong has died during surgery, just days after the much-publicized death of another dugong from what biologists believe was a combination of shock and ingesting plastic waste.

The latest dugong was found in July washed ashore in southern Thailand and put in a protected enclosure by marine experts.

It was found to have contracting stomach muscles and an X-ray showed a build-up of gas in its intestine together with seagrass clogging its stomach.

It died Thursday during surgery to have the seagrass removed.


Dugongs are listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and protected under Thai law.

There are about 250 in coastal waters. Experts say 17 have died this year, an abnormally high number.

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