Baby Dugong on Sick Watch After ‘Hope’ the Whale Dies

A caretaker cradles Marium while she is sick on Aug. 10, 2019 in Trang.
A caretaker cradles Marium while she is sick on Aug. 10, 2019 in Trang.

TRANG — The nation is holding its breath to see if a baby dugong will recover after being attacked by another fully grown dugong.

Marium, a 7-month-old rescued female dugong, is under intense care from veterinarians as of Tuesday at Duyong Bay in Koh Libong. Just yesterday, a dwarf sperm whale calf named Hope died while under watch in Phuket.

On Wednesday Aug. 7, an adult dugong aggressively chased and attacked Marium, sending her into a depressive state where she stopped eating and exhibited irregular breathing. On Friday, her condition worsened, with her whole body shaking in stress. She remained weak on Sunday but began eating sea grass on Monday.

Veterinarian Nantarika Chansue, who has treated aquatic animals all over the Kingdom, has diagnosed Marium with a bloodstream infection, fever, pneumonia, dehydration, and mouth sores.

“She’s been refusing to eat,” one of Marium’s caretakers said Tuesday, in a livestream by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. “We’ve been trying to get her to burp since she has a lot of gas in her belly.”

Mariam, an orphaned dugong, eats sea grass in Trang in May 2019. Photo: Sirachai Arunrugstichai / Courtesy
Mariam, an orphaned dugong, eats sea grass in Trang in May 2019. Photo: Sirachai Arunrugstichai / Courtesy

Marium is being treated with antibiotics, vitamins and mineral supplements, as well as salves for her wounds.

If Marium’s condition worsens, she’ll be transported for further treatment at either the Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya’s Trang Campus or the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources’ Phuket Marine Biological Center.

The orphaned Marium was rescued by marine officials in July. Viral photographs of her cuddling humans catapulted her to international sweetheart status. Marine officials believe Marium has formed a bond with humans, possibly in part because canoes are a similar shape to the underbelly of a dugong mother.

Read: Thai Vets Nurture Lost Baby Dugong With Milk and Sea Grass

In other aquatic animal-related news, a dwarf sperm whale calf named Hope died at 11:23pm Monday night at the Marine Department’s research center in Phuket

Hope had been under 24-hour watch by two veterinarians for nine days. She died from septic shock and severe dehydration.

Marine officials rescued Hope on Aug. 1 after finding her beached on Baan Nai Rai beach in Phang Nga with her mother, who was dead nearby.

Marium floats next to a canoe on Aug. 13, 2019.
Marium floats next to a canoe on Aug. 13, 2019.
In this Thursday, May 23, 2019, photo, an official of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources hugs Marium, a baby dugong separated from her mother, near Libong island, Trang province, southern Thailand. The baby dugong that has developed an attachment to humans after getting lost in the ocean off southern Thailand is being nurtured by marine experts in hopes that it can one day fend for itself. Photo: Sirachai Arunrugstichai via AP
In this Thursday, May 23, 2019, photo, an official of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources hugs Marium, a baby dugong separated from her mother, near Libong island, Trang province, southern Thailand. The baby dugong that has developed an attachment to humans after getting lost in the ocean off southern Thailand is being nurtured by marine experts in hopes that it can one day fend for itself. Photo: Sirachai Arunrugstichai via AP
In this Thursday, May 23, 2019, photo, officials of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources feed milk to Marium, a baby dugong separated from her mother, on Libong island, Trang province, southern Thailand. The estimated 5-month-old female dugong that has developed an attachment to humans after getting lost in the ocean off southern Thailand is being nurtured by marine experts in hopes that it can one day fend for itself. Photp: Sirachai Arunrugstichai via AP

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