Dugongs forced to flee as seagrass vanishes in Thai waters

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

The warming waters of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea are wreaking havoc on marine life, leaving dugongs desperate for food. Described as “steamed” grass, the disappearance of seagrass which serves as the primary diet of these gentle mammals, is pushing them out of their natural habitats.

According to Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, vice dean of the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University, the rise in sea temperatures is causing a catastrophic decline in seagrass populations. A recent study by marine experts reveals that areas like the Andaman Sea, particularly off Trang, Krabi, and parts of Satun, are witnessing alarming reductions in seagrass due to global warming.

Even regions like Phang Nga and Trat provinces are not spared from this crisis, though some areas in the Gulf, from Prachuap Khiri Khan to Pattani, still hold healthy seagrass beds.

Dr Thon explained that as sea temperatures soar, the phenomenon of steamed grass – previously unseen in Thailand – occurs, leading to dire consequences for dugongs. These marine mammals are now scattering in search of new feeding grounds abundant with seagrass, such as those around Phuket.

Sadly, this problem is not easily resolved. With temperatures rising daily and global warming exacerbating the issue, efforts to rehabilitate seagrass beds face significant challenges, reported Thai PBS World.

Despite the authorities’ attempts, the plight of dugongs highlights the urgent need for decisive action to mitigate the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems.

In related news, a dugong, appearing undernourished and weak, was spotted in Trang’s Koh Libong area, a well-known sanctuary for these marine creatures. The animal’s condition has generated alarm among the public and researchers, considering the diminishing seagrass around the island due to human activities and climate change.

In other news, in a recent interview, concerns about the welfare of domesticated elephants have surged. These gentle giants, pivotal to Thailand’s economy since ancient times, now face a crisis that threatens their very existence.

Eastern Thailand NewsEnvironment NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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