Last dugong in Gulf of Thailand found dead

A male dugong, believed to be the only remaning dugong in the Gulf of Thailand, was found dead in the sea of Rayong province last week, according to today’s report.

The dead dugong was found on Nov. 25, only two days after a dead bruda whale was found near the Lamchabang Pier in Chonburi.

The male dugong was bruised and bloody along his body, indicating a collision before death, according to Marine and Coastal Resources Research and Development Center of the Eastern Gulf of Thailand.

The research center revealed that there were previously a couple of dugongs living along the coast of Rayong to Chanthaburi. Last year, there was a rumor that one of them was dead and sold on the black market. Therefore, this means the dead dugong found last week could have been the last one on the eastern coast.

Polluted oceans endanger their lives but dugongs are also hunted for their bones, which are used to make amulets, just like elephant ivory and rhino snout.

Seub Nakasathain Foundation’s website reported that the dugong was given code DU-391, which means that during the past 30 years, Thailand has lost 391 dugongs.

There is some hope though, according to aquatic vetirinarian Poommate Chomchat of the research center. Dugongs leave a unique trail by chewing through seagrass, their main source of food. Experts hope they will find out there are still dugongs in the Thai sea by seeing patterns in the seagrass, Khaosod reported.

“We want to believe so,” he said.

Poommate hopes that there are living dugongs in the central and southern parts of the Gulf of Thailand. He believes conserving the natural seagrass will make the dugongs return.


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