Like the others of its kind, in danger of extinction, it is peaceful and herbivorous. Her caregivers lull her and give her milk until she can fend for herself.
Thailand is overwhelmed with affection by an orphaned dugong baby named Mariam, who became a celebrity when a photo hugging her caregiver went viral.
The animal is in danger of extinction and there are only 200 specimens left in Thai waters. The baby, six months old, had been found stuck on a beach on the island of Ko Poda, last April.
The photos, published by National Geographic Thailand, show the female dugong, a marine species similar to the manatee, in an embrace with a marine biologist.
Mariam means ‘lady of the oceans’ in Thai dialect.
Since it went viral, users of social networks have created comics, send messages to it and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources of Thailand named it the ‘consent of the nation’.
The department moved her to the island of Tungka Bay, on the island of Ko Libong, to be supervised and hand-fed with milk and seaweed.
So far, the biggest challenge for scientists is to nurture it since the animal has problems finding the algae and digging them up at the bottom of the sea.
In addition, dugong females feed their babies while they swim, something that biologists can not do.
In her new home, Mariam normally swims near the kayaks that biologists use to monitor her, which indicates that she is probably looking for a motherly company.
It is expected that in a year she can be released into their natural habitat, a sea plagued by threats, many of them caused by humans.
Source: Noticias Caracoltv