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Stranded dugong recovering after rescue

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Stranded dugong recovering after rescue | Thaiger

CAPE PANWA: A sick dugong was rescued by the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) on Friday, given medication and food, and is making its first steps toward recovery. A fisherman saw the animal, a young female, stranded in Klong Pa Khlock, Baan Para, close to where the klong meets the sea. He contacted the PMBC who came and retrieved the animal. “She has a large wound near her mouth,” said PMBC biologist Kongkiat Kittiwattawong. “I think the wound is the result of something sharp in the sea, possibly glass. Whatever it is from, it is definitely not natural. “She is also very thin and weak, and is covered in small bruises, probably as a result of being continually hit by waves while stranded.” He said it would take three or four months for the dugong to recover completely. “We are feeding her milk through a rubber tube, and administering an antibiotic to take care of the wound. We have also been using a Japanese CD called The Voice of the Dugong which gets played underwater to our patient. It will help with the healing and will cut down the recovery time. “After just three days, the animal is already swimming. When she is a little bit better, we’ll be able to give her milk with grass until she returns to full health. “When she is ready to return to the sea, we’ll give her sea grass to prepare her for her return to her natural environment,” K. Kongkiat added. Biologists established that the rescued dugong was a young female and weighed 27 kilos, matching the description of a dugong found stranded in the same place a month earlier. K. Kongkiat said the animal may be the same one, adding, “She may have gone back to find her mother but couldn’t locate her, or maybe she got separated again from her mother and returned to the klong.” If this is the case, staff at the PMBC are hoping that the second release will be more successful than the first.


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