A sick baby dugong whose fight for recovery won hearts in Thailand and cast a spotlight on ocean conservation has died from an infection exacerbated by bits of plastic lining her stomach, officials said on Saturday.
Mariam washed up in shallow waters off southwestern Thailand months ago and photos of her nuzzling playfully next to rescuers quickly went viral.
But Mariam died just after midnight after going into shock and efforts to resuscitate her failed.
An autopsy showed the plastic had caused obstructions in the animal’s stomach, leading to inflammation and gas build-up, veterinarian Nantarika Chansue posted on Facebook.
Mariam’s death was also announced on the Facebook page of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
The post quickly garnered more than 11,000 shares and thousands of comments mourning the loss, while a meme with a picture of Mariam and “RIP” circulated online.