A beloved baby marine mammal in Thailand has died after consuming plastic and experiencing shock, Thai officials said Saturday.
The young dugong, a relative of the manatee, was named Marium after marine biologists discovered her orphaned and lost in April in southern Thailand, the Associated Press reported. Soon, she captured hearts around the world as videos of her nuzzling up against caretakers circulated the Internet.
Veterinarians found pieces of plastic blocking the young mammal’s intestines and said that Marium died of shock. Her intestines became inflamed, which caused gas in her digestive tract, an infection in her blood and pus in her lungs. The infection spread, causing shock, officials said in the announcement.
“Everyone is sad about her passing, but this is an issue that must be urgently resolved,” officials from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources in Thailand said on Facebook. “If we want to conserve rare marine animals so they remain in existence with us, every sector, every person must help with marine trash.”
She might have accidentally eaten the plastic, thinking it was food, the Associated Press reported. When she was brought in for more care last week, she had bruising around her body, possibly caused by bumping into rocks or after being struck by large dugongs, the department said on Facebook.
“We assume she wandered off too far from her natural habitat and was chased and eventually attacked by another male dugong, or dugongs, as they feel attracted to her,” Jatuporn Buruspat, director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources said Saturday, according to the Associated Press.