The body of male dugong, estimated to be about 25 years old, was brought ashore and taken to the PMBC on Sunday in the hope of determining what caused its death, as marine experts noted that the fully grown adult male appeared to be in perfect health other than some bruises at the base of its front flippers. (See story here.)
An autopsy on the dugong’s remains conducted at the PMBC had discovered that the dugong had suffered a puncture to its belly.
“It was a wound and officers found 15cm-long stingray barb inside the dugong’s stomach,” Dr Kongkiat said.
“The barb had pierced through the skin to the small intestine and stomach. Inside of the small intestine was inflammation. That led to an infection in the dugong’s abdomen,” he added.
“Lymph nodes all throughout the body had responded to the infection. There was bloating of the stomach and the remains of some food left in the stomach,” Dr Kongkiat said.
“We believe that the cause of death is infection from the stingray barb,” he concluded.
PMBC officers have already collected some examples of the dugong’s skin for further analysis and research.
“We have also kept samples of the bacteria that we believe killed the dugong so we can to try to identify it,” Dr Kongkiat said.