FILE -In this Thursday, May 23, 2019, a baby dugong named Marium swims near the hull of a boat off Libong island, Trang province, southern Thailand. A top marine biologist is urging Thailand’s government to speed up conservation plans for the dugong, an endangered sea mammal, after their death toll for the year has already climbed to a record 21. (Sirachai Arunrugstichai via AP, File)

Thai marine biologist pleads for dugong conservation plan

October 03, 2019 - 4:37 am

BANGKOK (AP) — A top marine biologist is urging Thailand’s government to speed up conservation plans for the dugong, an endangered sea mammal, after their death toll for the year has already climbed to a record 21.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat said on his Facebook page that the carcass of a dugong was found Tuesday off the southern province of Krabi. The young female apparently drowned after being caught in a fishing net.

Experts believe only 250 dugongs are left in Thai waters.

Thon, who has served on a government environment committee, says a three-year master plan for dugong conservation is awaiting Cabinet approval.

The plan is called the "Marium Project" after the name given a much-loved ailing baby dugong who died two months ago under the care of veterinarians after her rescue.

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