A baby dugong who had become a national darling due to cute clips has died from ingesting plastic.
While vets initially thought seven-month-old Marium, a dugong rescued and taken under the marine state department’s care in May, was suffering in recent weeks from a depressive state caused by an attack by a larger dugong, an autopsy found that Marium’s death Saturday was due to ingesting plastic.
Her time of death was 9 minutes past midnight on Saturday. At 5:52, a team of vets performed an autopsy to find that several pieces of plastic she had ingested were blocking her digestive system. The result was bloating, sepsis, and flooding lungs, according to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
Affected was the conservation photographer who first made Marium famous internationally with photos of her cuddling caretakers and munching on seagrass. During an interview, he fondly recalled Marium swimming next to boat hulls resembling the underbellies of adult dugongs, and how she would snore when asleep in people’s arms.