Third dead dugong in a week, thought to have been caused by stingrays
Another dugong, the third in a week, has been found dead on a Mook Island beach in Thailand’s southern province of Trang on Sunday.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varavuth Silpa-archa said today that he has received a report from officials that the dugong is thought to have been killed by venom from a stingray, after the death of a pregnant dugong a few days earlier, which is believed to have been hit by boat propeller.
He said he is worried about the decline in the number of dugongs in the seas off Trang, home to Thailand’s dugongs due to the abundance of seagrass, their staple food, adding that he has instructed officials to develop more measures to protect the mammals and to promote public participation in the effort.
Piyachat Buasri, a veterinarian attached to the Natural Resources and Environment Institute of Ratchamongkol Technology University, said that the dead dugong, weighing about 350kgs, died about three days ago, before being washed ashore.
In addition to bruises caused by the usual bites from other dugongs, she said that an autopsy found a stingray spine embedded on the chest of the mammal, the venom of whichcould cause immediate death.
Marine and Coastal Resources Department Director-General Sophon Thongdee said that there are about 255 dugongs known to be in Thai waters, with about 185 in the seas off Trang province, adding that, this year ,up to December 20th, 20 have died compared to last year’s 23.