After seeing the adorable baby dugong "Mariam," who has become an internet sensation, marine surveys in the Andaman Sea have discovered a 200 strong dugong population, mostly at Ko Libong Animal Sanctuary. (Photo: thainews.prd.go.th)

Bangkok (NNT/VNA) - After seeing the adorable baby dugong "Mariam," who has become an internet sensation, marine surveys in the Andaman Sea have discovered a 200 strong dugong population, mostly at Ko Libong Animal Sanctuary.

Ko Libong Animal Sanctuary Chief, Chaiyapruek Weerawong said on June 13 the population of dugongs offshore in Trang province can mostly be found at Ko Libong Animal Sanctuary, specifically at Laem Ju Hoei and Ao Thung Chin, with about 180 dugongs taking to living around the sanctuary. Dugong communities are also found at seagrass sources in Hat Chao Mai National Park.

The latest marine observation by air this year confirmed there are no fewer than 200 dugongs living in the Andaman Sea from Satun up to Krabi. Many mother and baby dugongs have been spotted, and the birth rate of the dugongs has increased every year. Dugongs are still in need of protection and conservation to raise their population, and spare them being faced with extinction.

Dugong is a protected species according to the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act BE 2562. They are also protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) prohibiting all kinds of trade except for research and reproduction.-NNT/VNA