On Saturday, officials announced the death of the beloved dugong that went viral in Thailand because of a stomach full of plastic waste.
Back in April, marine experts found the eight-month old animal near a beach in southern Thailand and cared for it.
Marium, the female dugong died from a combination of shock and ingesting plastic waste, according to the officials at the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
The Associated Press reported veterinarians and volunteers visiting Marium to check up on her health and feed her on their canoes up to 15 times a day. Since she was rescued, photos of her with marine biologists went viral on social media.
The department set cameras to live stream her being taken care of and fed, because of how much they loved her.
She was bruised because of a chase that happened last week by a male dugong during the mating season, the department states.
“We assume she wandered off too far from her natural habitat and was chased and eventually attacked by another male dugong, or dugongs, as they feel attracted to her,” Jatuporn Buruspat, the department’s director-general said Saturday.
She refused to be fed, and was moved to a nursery tank on Wednesday to be monitored closely after the attack.
An autopsy also found “eight pieces of waste plastic bags packed together” as well as “small plastic fragments” in her intestine, leading to to gastritis and a blood infection. “She must have thought these plastics were edible,” Jatuporn said.
In Thailand, Marium has become a symbol of ocean conservation. The department announced Saturday the Ministry of Public Health will immediately begin implementing a plan to reduce sea waste. Additionally, the “Marium Project” will act as a guideline on how to properly care for and rehabilitate dugongs.
“Her death will remind Thais and people all over the world not to dispose trash into the oceans,” Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-arcpha said.