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Baby dugong named Marium wins hearts in Thailand

A dugong was found swimming alone in Thailand’s southern Krabi province as conservationists suspected that the animal who was later revealed as female, ARY News reported.

An orphaned baby dugong that was later rescued and named Marium swum her way into the hearts of Thailand residents after a video of her hugging her human helper went viral.

The dugong, a medium-sized marine mammal is one of four living species of the order Sirenia, which also includes three species of manatees. It is the only living representative of the once-diverse family Dugongidae; its closest modern relative, Steller’s sea cow, was hunted to extinction in the 18th century.

Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) dubbed Marium “nation’s sweetheart”.

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She was rescued and taken to a nearby dugong habitat to take care of her.

International Union of Conservation for Nature has listed the dugongs, found in Thailand’s waters, as “vulnerable”, and say they’re at a high risk of extinction.

Marium is currently being hand-reared and hand-fed milk and sea grass, revealed the helpers at the conservation.

An online appeal raised money from Marium’s fans to pay for her care spanning to an entire year.

However, it’s not certain that she would ever be able to survive in the wild.

The conservation plans to do a video live-stream of her daily activities in the future.

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