Thailand's beloved lost baby dugong dies with plastic in stomach, vets say
A sick baby dugong beloved in Thailand has died with bits of plastic in her stomach, officials reported Saturday.
“Mariam” was adopted by the Thai public and became an internet sensation after being discovered alone without parents, Sky News reports.
Dugongs are a type of mammal that is sometimes thought to be the source of the mermaid myth, the news outlet reported
The animal died Saturday a week after being found ill and refusing to eat.
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"Many pieces of small plastic clogged her intestines and caused inflammation, leading to blood infection and inflamed lungs,” one of her vets Nantarika Chansue said on Facebook, according to Sky News.
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"Everyone is saddened by this loss, but it reiterates that we need to save the environment to save these rare sea animals," the vet said.
Mariam became a hit in Thailand after images of biologists embracing and feeding her with milk and seagrass spread across social media.
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Last week, she was found bruised after being chased and supposedly attacked by a male dugong during the mating season, said Jatuporn Buruspat, director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resource.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.