Rescued baby dugong “Marium” misses mom, says veterinarian

(Photo) Natarika Chansue Facebook page

“Marium”, a six-month-old baby dugong, a species of the same order as the manatee, was accidentally separated from and now misses her mom. She clings to an orange canoe with her arms and tags along as if it were her mother, according to Nantarika Chansue, a veterinarian of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University.

“I have been a vet for 30 years and have seen too much of the cycle of life and death, but the story of the orphan Marium really struck me,” Nantarika wrote on Facebook.

“She (the dugong) was about five months old and had just started teething when we spotted her. She was barely able to chew the seagrass and basically had to rely on formula. We fed her every two hours with two-liters of imported infant goat milk powder, mixed with some vitamins and vital nutrients.” Nantarika added.

The vet says, whenever Marium needs warmth and comfort, she holds on to the orange canoe, Mae Som, that looks the most like the shape of her mom. The baby mammal would either dive under Mae Som and hug it with her arms or swims along as if they are together as a mother and her young would.

She is probably calling out ‘Mom…I miss you’, the vet conjectured.

The baby dugong’s favorite posture is to wrap one of her arms around us while feeding and she would doze, off just like an infant, she said.

The vet was particularly shaken when Marium was trying to hide under submerged rocks at night in fear of the darkness. She sometimes got struck on the beach when the tide was low because she has no mother to guide her to deeper water. Rescuers are able to assist her at times because she is under 24-hour surveillance.

According to the vet, Marium may not be able to reunite with her mother because the mother might have already died, just like many other dugongs that get entangled in fishing nets.

Marium, an Arabic name meaning “lady of the sea”, was rescued from Krabi on April 25th. She was assumed to be five months old then. She is currently under the care of veterinarians at Point Dugong on Koh Libong, Kantang district of Trang province. She is expected to be released back to the sea when she reaches one year old.

On Friday June 7th, Chaiyapreuk Weerawong, Chief of Libong Non-Hunting Area, said that officers were able to rescue Marium, who became stranded on the beach again last night.


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