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Fur n Feather Friday

10 Nov

I really like animals. In fact, I love ’em. Even the ones I am scared of. But there are a few animals that have really captured a very special place in my heart (fruit bats, red pandas, quolls, cheetahs etc). This absolutely fantastic creature is one of them:

Dugong (pronounced dew-gong)

dugandcalf.jpg

  • Dugongs are marine mammals that live only in tropical coastal waters, never venturing into freshwater
  • Dugongs are related to manatees but their closest relation, Stellar’s Sea Cow was hunted into extinction
  • The dugong’s habitat includes both the Indian and Pacific oceans
  • Australia has the world’s highest dugong population
  • Dugongs diet almost exclusively on seagrass which grows in shallow, tropical marine waters (seagrass can only grow in shallow water because it needs lots of sunlight to photosynthesize and sunlight can only penetrate water down to a certain depth)

dugong.jpg

  • Dugongs become sexually reproductive between the ages of 9 -17, have a gestation period of over a year and have 1 calf every 3 -7 years
  • Dugongs can live up to 70 years
  • I wish I was a dugong
  • Dugongs are slow swimmers and have poor eyesight but they posess excellent hearing and sense of smell
  • Dugongs have a fluked tail, like whales and dolphins
  • It is thought their natural predators (excluding humans) are large sharks, saltwater crocodiles and orcas
  • Dugongs are harmless (unless you are a piece of seagrass)

Dugong Conservation

dugong-and-divers.jpg

  • Dugongs are classified as endangered 
  • Loss of habitat, fishing and shark nets, pollution (especially oil spills) and over-hunting are huge threats to the dugong’s survival
  • Dugong’s used be sighted in large herds, over 100 strong, but are now rarely seen in groups larger than 6
  • Because of their tendency to live in shallow water dugongs are in danger of being struck by boats
  • The dugong’s low reproductive rate means that it takes a very long time for dugong population to grow, even in ideal and supportive conditions
  • For more information on the wonderful and beautiful dugong please go to:
  • Austalian Department of the Environment and Heritage: Marine Species
    Sirenian International 
    Humane Society International: Australian Division – Dugongs

And for a fun, silly and not quite factually incorrect (dugongs are NOT also known as manatees) dugong song go here

dugong-hello.jpg

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Posted by on November 10, 2006 in Animals

 

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