August 17 was named Dugong Day last year after baby dugong Marium succumbed to a stomach infection caused by plastic she had ingested. Her death helped raised conservation awareness among Thais.
Dr Thorn Thamrongnawasawat, a marine expert, said the aim is to increase the dugong population off the coast of Thailand by 50 per cent from 250 to 375 within 10 years.
Another aim will be to drastically cut down on the death of dugongs from fishing equipment. At present, 90 per cent of dugong deaths are due to fishing apparatus, and the aim is to cut it down to 20 per cent instead of the previous target of 45 per cent.
Thailand currently 250 dugongs, and about 10 to 12 are found dead on a yearly basis. However, recently, as many as 15 dugongs were found dead raising concerns.
Published : August 17, 2020
By : The Nation