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Rescued baby dugong dies

/ 05:58 AM January 21, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—A baby sea cow rescued in a coastal village in Quezon province early this month died Sunday night at the Manila Ocean Park despite valiant attempts to nurse it back to health.

Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim of the Biodiversity Management Bureau said Monday they were hoping Binu—the one-month-old dugong—would live despite its low chance of survival.

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“We expected that this would happen, but for the sake of conserving the species, we didn’t want to give up without trying,” Lim said. “[However,] the stress of being away from its family proved too difficult to overcome.”

Lim said a necropsy (an autopsy performed on an animal) would be done to determine the cause of Binu’s death despite the absence of external injuries.

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She noted that Binu was the youngest sea cow they had recovered in the past 10 years. It was found stranded in Binulasan village in Infanta, Quezon, last Jan. 9 by two local fishermen.

Locals initially kept it in a pit dug along the beach, but due to strong waves in the area, the dugong was transferred to another barangay (village) where a makeshift pen was made as temporary shelter. It was later transferred to the marine rescue center of the Manila Ocean Park.

Lim said the bureau initially wanted to release it back into the water but there were no signs of its mother in the area.

She explained that the young animal should still be with its mother in order to survive since it needed its mother’s milk. A team tried replacing the mother’s milk with infant formula in a bid to save Binu.

When it arrived at the rescue center, Binu was only 18 kilograms and 1.06 meters long. Last Thursday, it gained 400 grams, which dropped to 18 kilos the following day although it was fed infant formula.

It again gained 200 grams after being placed on forced feeding Saturday. The next day, soya milk was mixed with infant formula, resulting in an additional 400 grams in weight.

“But the breathing became erratic by 3:30 p.m. until it died [at 7:18] in the evening,” Lim said.

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The official added that most newborn sea cows usually die of complications like digestive problems or infections due to the lack of immunity needed from the mother’s milk.

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Biodiversity bureau fights to save rescued sea cow in next 6 weeks

 

Dugong rescued in Quezon town

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TAGS: baby dugong, Binu, Dugong, dugong dies, Manila Ocean Park, Philippines, Theresa Mundita Lim
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