Thailand is all hearts for Marium, the baby dugong

Baby dugong - The Guardian

This baby dugong, Marium has sealed the hearts of the people in Thailand. The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources has declared her as the “nation’s sweetheart”. A dugong is a marine mammal that is part of the Trichechidae family.

She was spotted in Krabi, , earlier this year in April when the marine helpers came to her rescue. Approximately 200 dugongs are home to the water bodies across Thailand. But it is believed that they are always by their mothers’s side until they are 18 months old. But Marium was found swimming by herself.

Instead of swimming amongst other dugongs, she likes to curl up and cling onto boats, canoes and sometimes even the marine helpers. She is equivalent to the size of a human being as she weighs 29.5 kilograms. Her staple diet is sea-grass and gallons of hand-fed milk. Her care takers are planning on building a standalone  “artificial tidal pool”. This is to avoid Marium getting stranded or isolated from the outlined territory.

Photo courtesy: Sirachai Arunrugstichai/AP/The Guardian

Photo courtesy: Sirachai Arunrugstichai/AP/The Guardian

When speaking to The Guardian, Nantarika Chansue, the director of Chulalongkorn University’s aquatic animal medicine unit in Bangkok, says “She’s the centre of attention. She’s a baby, she’s an orphan, she’s rare”.

She wants her entire team to provide utmost care and control for the beloved dugong. Additionally an e-portal was launched to raise money for Marium’s supervision. But the fundraiser was discontinued after receiving a sum of 1.7m baht (AUS $80,000).

The DMRC plans to set up a video live-stream in the coming weeks. They will be able to watch and follow each and every move of Marium.

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About the Author: Netra Venkateshwaran

A part time journalist but a full time animal lover. Netra is an avid traveler, a caffeine addict, and a food enthusiast. She also has a keen interest for fashion and luxury designer wear.

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