PHUKET, 23 August 2019 – Another young dugong, “Yamil” has died, marking the third dugong death in a week and the 17th this year, remarkably higher than 10-12 annual average.
After an operation to remove sea grass blocking his intestinal tract at Vajira Phuket Hospital, baby dugong Yamil was taken back to his nursing pool at the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Andaman Sea Research Center at Laem Panwa cape, Phuket. The dugong was later found in a state of shock and cardiac arrest. The veterinarians tried to revive the dugong but were unable to preserve his life. Yamil was pronounced dead at 9:43 p.m.
The dugong was suffering from intestinal blockage, a similar symptom to that found in human infants as the intestine fails to move food inside, causing the accumulation of mass and gas in the gastrointestinal tract and thinning the intestine wall, leading to breaking capillaries and infection. The accumulation of gas also obstructs the movement of lungs and breathing.
Additionaly, a dugong carcass was yesterday found by villagers on Ko Libong island, Trang province, marking the 16th dugong death this year. This dugong was a female, 1.22 meters long, with a 93-centimeter circumference of the body, and weighing 40 kilograms. The female dugong had no open wound. The death of this dugong, along with Yamil and Mariam, marks the third dugong death this month. The dugong fatality rate this year is alarming, as 10-12 cases of dugong deaths are usually found in a year, however there have so far been 17 cases in only 8 months.
The dugong population in Thailand is now at 250, with 200 living around Ko Libong island.
Kasetsat University’s Deputy Dean of Faculty of Fisheries Thon Thamrongnawasawat, posted on his Facebook page his thanks to all related officials taking care of the dugongs, stressing the unusual frequent deaths of dugongs this year, and his hopes for the Mariam project to help promote the conservation of rare animals.
After the death of Yamil, the DMCR posted a video clip expressing their sorrow and apologizing to the Thai people for not being able to save the young dugongs’ life.
The death of baby dugongs has however left us with better knowledge on the conservation of rare marine animals, and a sense of responsibility towards the environment. Let’s take a look at some parts of the clip made by the veterinarian team in remembrance of Yamil.