Thailand: Mounting dugong deaths cause alarm

APINYA WIPATAYOTIN Bangkok Post 15 Jul 19;

Two more dugongs were found dead on Sunday, one off the coast of Krabi and the other in Trang, bringing the death toll to five in four months, said Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, director of Phuket Marine Biological Centre.

In Krabi, the dead dugong was pulled out of the sea between Koh Pu and Koh Phi Phi. The other dead dugong was found washed ashore on Hat Samran beach in Trang's Hat Samran district.

The Krabi dugong was a 2.3-metre long male weighing about 400kg, said Woraphot Lomlin, head of Hat Noppharat Thara National Park-Phi Phi Archipelago in Krabi.

It was transported to Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya's Trang campus for an autopsy, he said.

The Krabi dugong was the fourth death, and the Trang dugong the fifth, in the past four months, said Mr Kongkiat in his Facebook post on Sunday.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, deputy dean of Faculty of Fisheries of Kasetsart University, said the dugongs may have been hunted for their tusks which are made into talismans.

The expert said the earlier rescues of two young dugongs, named Mariam and Yamil, had captivated the public.

Those two young dugongs are now being nursed under the care of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

Meanwhile, a group of more than 100 blacktip reef sharks were also spotted swimming near to a wharf located on Hong archipelago in Krabi's Ao Luk district.

Some officials at Than Bok Khorani National Park said that was the largest number of blacktip reef sharks they had observed in the area.

Koh Phi Phi dugong died from a gastrointestinal infection
The Thaiger 16 Jul 19;

Another dead dugong was discovered over the weekend off Koh Phi Phi in Krabi province. Department of Marine and Coastal Resources veterinarians have determined the death was caused by stomach infection and chronic inflammation of the intestines.

Another was found off the coast of Trang on the weekend as well.

The adult male dugong measured 3 metres in length and weighing 398 kilograms when it was found by a fishing vessel off Koh Phi Phi. It was taken to the Marine and Coastal Resources Research and Development Centre for an autopsy.

The autopsy revealed that the dugong suffered heart failure and had a gastrointestinal infection. Undigested seagrass was found in its stomach.

It’s been a bad start to 2019 for dugong with seven of the docile mammals being found dead on beaches or in the seas off Trang and Krabi provinces, notably in the last 2-3 months. But two youngsters ‘Mariam’ and ‘Yamil’, were alive when they were discovered and have since become dugong reality TV stars with their own live-streaming by the DMCR so you can follow their progress as they get nursed back to health.