Injured baby dugong rehabilitated i Thailand after getting separated from family

A baby dugong that was rescued after being found lost in the sea is being taught how to swim again - by paddling alongside a kayak on May 22.

The one-year-old marine creature was found exhausted and separated from its pod in shallow waters off the coast of Krabi, southern Thailand, on April 29.

Conservationists rescued the dugong and named her Mariam. It’s not clear how she was injured, but workers believe she will require six months of rehabilitation before she can be released back into the ocean.

Mariam has been monitored in a seagrass bed, while also being fed every day with milk by local vets.

Environmentalists - who say it could be the first case of a ‘free range’ dugong calf - have begun using a kayak for her to follow alongside as she regains her swimming strength.

The training exercise allows Mariam to build up her courage in the ocean while staying nearby her human ‘’wet nurse’’.

Footage shows Mariam swimming unaided next to therapists in swimsuits, before following the kayak.

Environmental worker Kongkiat said they expect to keep Mariam in captivity for another six months before she can be released back into the wild.

He said: ‘’Coast guards noticed Mariam near the beach. She was exhausted and struggling to swim. The environmental teams were informed and we decided to bring her ashore for rehabilitation.

‘’She had become lost and separated from her family. We expect that she will need at least six months of rehabilitation but it could be longer.

‘’Mariam has been in our care since April 29. She was rescued and set free in a seagrass bed where she could meet other dugongs.

‘’Even though she can feed on seagrass, she still loves to ask for milk from our staff almost every day.

‘’Mariam might be a first case in the world for a dugong calf being ‘free range’, nursed and milk-fed by humans.’’