Viral Baby Dugong ‘Mariam’ Dies From Plastic In Stomach

Mariam, a baby marine mammal in Thailand, recently went viral for being adorable while rescued and taken care of. A lost and orphaned dugong, videos which captured Mariam nuzzling with her rescuers after being washed ashore quickly spread throughout the web. She wormed her way into all our hearts but was sadly sick from the beginning and always in a precarious position.

The realization that she had also ingested plastic from the ocean only worsened her situation.

Photo from AFP/Sirachai Arunrugstichai

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It was recently announced by the  Department of Marine and Coastal Resources in Thailand that Mariam had died from an infection which was aggravated by pieces of plastic lining her intestinal track. “She died from a blood infection and pus in her stomach,” Chaiyapruk Werawong, head of Trang province marine park, told AFP.

Her autopsy showed the plastic had caused obstructions in the stomach, which resulted in inflammation and gas build-up.

Mariam eventually died from shock and was not able to be resuscitated. It is believed that she ingested the plastic while mistakenly taking it for food in the period when she was alone at sea.

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“Everyone is sad about her passing, but this is an issue that must be urgently resolved,”  the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources in Thailand stated 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.

What do you think can be done to lessen marine trash? 


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