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Bad Week for Thailand’s Dugong Population

10th February 2009

Last week was grim for the already dwindling dugong population along Thailand’s Andaman Coast, the Phuket Gazette reported.

No less than 3 of the mammals died, seemingly due to fishing activities in the region. The first dugong carcass the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC) received was from Satun on February 1st, whilst 2 days later two more appeared, 1 each from Trang and Krabi.

Dugong Carcass - © PhuketGazette.com

Kanjana Adulyanukosol from PMBC reportedly said that two of the carcasses had thick blubber, a sign that they were healthy prior to dying.

One of the dugong carcasses where still fresh, with no outside trauma and a liquid-filled pericardium (a two-layered membrane surrounding the heart) that indicates a sudden death, possibly due to shock.

A national action plan is now being drawn up to conserve the country’s declining dugong population, hopefully paving the way for Thailand to sign an international memorandum of understanding (MUO) on dugong conservation.

The MUO, established by Australia in 2005 and signed by the first countries in 2007, has so far been signed by 42 other countries.


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