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Beastly 100kg ‘sea cow’ washes up ‘with head chopped off’ as probe launched

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Beachgoers were horrified when a decapitated 'sea cow' washed up this week.

Dugongs, a close relative of manatees, are a vulnerable species protected under law in most countries where they can be found.

That is the case in Thailand where the mutilated animal washed up on Koh Sriboya island yesterday (Wednesday, April 19).

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The dead dugong measured roughly 2m and weighed 100kg.

According to Thaiger, it is estimated that only 200 dugongs remain in Thai waters.

Thai authorities believe that a knife was used to slice the animal's head off, likely after it was caught in a fisherman's net to free the rest of its body.

However, another theory is that someone deliberately went out looking for dugongs to decapitate.

Their tusks are considered by some in Thailand to bring success, and can be sold to the superstitious for a high price.

Yongyut Fangkwa, a village chief on the island, insisted this act would not have been committed by a local as the population works hard to preserve the animals and their main food source, seagrass.

An investigation has now been launched with a team from a rare species research centre in Trang province travelling to where the animal washed up.

'Sea cow' is a term used to describe all species in the Sirenia order. Following extinctions there are now only four – dugongs, the Amazonian manatee, West Indian manatee and West African manatee.

The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species considers dugongs vulnerable to extinction. Hunting, habitat loss and boats all pose a threat to their population size.

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