Baby dugong 'Mariam' to stream on Facebook
The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources is planning a 24-hour live Facebook broadcast of superstar Mariam -- a six-month old female orphan dugong -- claiming it will be the world's first case study on how to look after the rare marine mammal species.
Mariam is an Arabic name and one translation of it is "lady of the sea".
The broadcast planned for next month was recently agreed by the department's chief Jatuporn Buruspat and the Trang governor who visited the dugong together at an animal shelter on Koh Libong in Trang.
Mr Jatuporn said it would provide a good opportunity for the public to learn more about the rare marine species.
The baby dugong was found by a group of locals with no sign of her mother nearby.
Local villagers then contacted authorities to help save Mariam's life.
They came to rescue her on orange canoes, and fed her milk every day, which seemed to make her believe the canoes were her mother.
Mariam remains close to the shore at Koh Libong, raising concerns among officials as she has been found beached many times because of fast-receding water as the tide goes out. She also tends to be drowsy so officials must patrol every day to make sure she doesn't get stuck on the shore.
Mr Jutuporn said the department's team has spent more than two months taking care of Mariam, prioritising her health and safety. He said it might take one more year of nursing before the baby dugong can be returned safely to the wild.
The online broadcast via Facebook is aimed at members of the public who are interested in learning about the dugong.
"People from all around the world will be able to see us with the little dugong. It's a great opportunity to cultivate a mindset of dugong conservation as there are only 200 of them in Thai waters," he said.