Pesticide and nutrient run-off into the Great Barrier Reef degrades water quality and can smother the seagrasses on which dugongs depend. Some populations of dugongs off of Western Australia find mates this way. Both are related to the elephant, although the giant land animal is not at all similar in appearance or behavior. This would not be possible without financial support from our community. Where do Manatees and Dugongs live? Text available under Creative Commons licence. You can help right now by contributing to WWF-Australia's Net-Free North appeal. The Life Cycle of a Dugong The life cycle of a dugong is very long. If there are stresses in their environment (such as increased cyclones and floods from climate change) then dugongs will produce fewer young. This gentle mammal's body is beautifully streamlined for marine life and it glides effortlessly through seagrass meadows, but is just as elusive. Dugongs … They are the only marine mammals in Australia that live mainly on plants. Dugongs live in a number of places ranging from Australia up along the coast of East Africa. Populations of dugongs can be found in the waters surrounding East Africa, South Asia, and Australia. Dugongs are pregnant for 14 months and give birth to live young. Poor eyesight means the dugong is reliant on sensitive bristles along its pig-like snout to locate the grasses on which it dines, and it can dive for up to 10 minutes at a time while grazing. “It is clear that gill net fishing and dugongs do not mix, the Queensland Government needs to do more to ensure the protection of our iconic marine wildlife. Dugongs live in warm coastal waters, shallow bays and lagoons. In the vibrant turquoise waters of Japan's Henoko Bay, dugong herds once grazed peacefully on vast meadows of sea grass. Dugongs are found in the largest numbers in Australian waters, where they live in the shallower part of the seas of northern Australia. Dugongs are sirenians and therefore related to manatees. For more than a decade WWF-Australia has been partnering with a variety of stakeholders to reform fisheries management in Queensland to support threatened species like the dugong. Marine pollution A female is 10 before she has her first calf and will only reproduce every three to seven years, caring for a single calf for two years or more. Female dugongs first breed between the age of six and 17 years old. The vast seagrass plains of the northern Great Barrier Reef are home to one of the largest populations of dugongs in the world. Below is an outline of some of the key facts about dugongs. The name sea cow refers to the fact that they graze on seagrass, which forms meadows in sheltered coastal waters. Female dugongs first breed between the age of six and 17 years old. This range spans at least 48 coun­tries and about 140,000 km of trop­i­cal coast­line. So, healthy dugongs  means healthy seagrass and broader Great Barrier Reef health. Responsibility: Greg Pyers. Here as well a decline is noted, as indicated by aerial surveys done in 1978, 1983 e 1991, with sightings that have decreased from 34-38 specimen in the first two surveys, to 26 in the last. The female will produce a single calf after a 14-month pregnancy. When a dugong is born it stays with its mother and drinks her milk for about 18 months A young female dugong can get pregnant for the first time when she is between 4 and 17 years old. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- This community is one of the most isolated in the world, 800 Km. A dugong will have its first calf between 6-18 years old. They were once common throughout the Indian Ocean but now there are only a few thousand left in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, and just a few hundred in Asia. The Life Cycle of a Dugong The life cycle of a dugong is very long. The calf stays with its mother, drinking milk from her teats and following close by until one or two years of age. After they do achieve sexual maturity, they will leave their mother and begin to seek out mates. Dugongs are very shy creatures. Dugongs do not make good pets. The female will produce a single calf after a 14-month pregnancy. Dugongs can become sexually active as soon as six years of age, but it can be delayed by many years as well, perhaps due to the lack of ample food supply in the area. However, its exact population numbers are hard to track. 4. The mating process itself does vary a little bit, depending on the group of dugongs. Seagrass feeding and breeding areas are absolutely vital to dugongs. Dugongs are usually observed singly or as pairs, and sightings of dugongs by early seafarers are believed to have given rise to the mythology of mermaids and Sirens. Dugongs can live for about 70 years. Where do dugongs live? Their life is slow and easy. Dugongs are now legally protected throughout their range, but their populations are still in a tenuous state. Dugongs are important to their habitats. But even here, commercial gill nets that drape like curtains pose a threat of drowning. Even in the best conditions, a population is unlikely to increase more than 5% a year, leaving dugongs vulnerable to over-exploitation. Dugongs are saltwater animals. Dugongs have been important to human cultures in various ways for thousands of years. We must continue to pressure the Australian and Queensland governments to clean up polluted catchment run-off to ensure dugongs have seagrass to eat. 4. If you would like to help us, please make a donation. Help those who can't ask for your help. Female dugongs have one calf after a yearlong pregnancy, and the mother helps her young reach the surface and take its first breath. Conservation Status and Threats ©Getty Images. Dugongs are more closely related to elephants than to other marine mammals. Dugongs can live until they are seventy years old. Dugongs are strict herbivores that feed on seagrass, especially the Hydrocharitaceae and Potamogetonaceae family of seagrasses. Dugong breeding and foraging behaviour have been researched, as has their interaction with predators such as tiger sharks. The northern Great Barrier Reef is a stronghold for dugongs, which are threatened all around the world. Dugongs can live for a very long time, and one that was captured in a peat bog in New Zealand was estimated to be around 3,500 years old. For a population to remain stable, 95 percent of adults must survive the span of one year. For your convenience we will send you one receipt at the end of the financial year, for the total amount of your tax deductible donations. The Arabian Gulf is home to about 5,300 dugongs, of which almost 75 per cent live off the Abu Dhabi coast. They swim in herds but you usually see them swimming in pairs. With a lifespan of seventy years and a slow rate of reproduction, the dugongs are very vulnerable to extinction. Dugongs once grazed in their thousands on the seabed off the Philippines. Taking this net out will create a 385-square-kilometre haven for dugongs in Princess Charlotte Bay. We must also continue our support for the Reef, to ensure dugongs have places to live and eat. Dugong’s diet consists entirely of seagrass. At what age do female dugongs first give birth? The colour of a Dugong can change due to growth of algae on the skin. Like manatees, female dugongs in season attract the attention of several males and eventually mate with one or two. Answer. Dugongs are distributed across the Indo-Pacific region, where they live in highly endangered and nearly extinct populations. The so called West Indian manatee lives in the Gulf of Mexico off the coasts of Florida and the south-eastern USA, the coasts of Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and the northern coasts of South America (green area). “If a fisherman responsible loses the net, it becomes a ghost net and sadly this is just a trap for dead fish. Dugongs are cousins of manatees and share a similar plump appearance, but have a dolphin fluke-like tail. In the sites where dugongs persist, the researchers found that they show location fidelity, seeking out the same areas they did 50 years ago instead of populating new ones. The name Dugong comes from Spain. The distribution areas of the four families of sea-cows do not overlap and are sometimes very far apart (see map below). Feeding . Do you think dugongs are as beautiful as mermaids? Life history cycle Like their relatives, the manatees of the Americas, female Dugongs in season attract the attention of a number of … They usually only have one calf at a time which is breast-fed for 18 months before it can eat seagrass. We support investment in expanded data collection and compliance programs, and champion sustainable practices that conserve ecosystems, sustain livelihoods and ensure food security. Dugong’s diet consists entirely of seagrass. The Dugong is found over a broad range of the coastal and inland waters of the western Indo-Pacific region. Dugongs are smaller than manatees with the average adult dugong reaching lengths of around 3 meters and weigh nearly 400 kg, which is about the same as a lar… The Mermaid myth. They are also found in parts of the Indian and Pacific oceans. What Do Dugongs Eat? A dugong will have a calf every 3-7 years under ideal conditions. When a dugong is born it stays with its mother and drinks her milk for about 18 months. What is the latin name for Dugong? It is the only member of the Dugongidae family, and its closest living relatives are the manatees. Although the dugong looks extremely similar to a manatee, the two are different species. These days, dugongs are under pressure from other activities, such as loss of habitat, boat traffic and being caught in fishing nets. Dugongs live in warm, coastal waters from East Africa to Australia. Here are 7 facts! The largest population of dugongs is between Shark Bay and Moreton Bay on the east coast of Australia. Physical Description The Dugong may reach 3m in length and weigh almost 500 kgs. The dugong's breeding season occurs throughout the year, although dugongs will … A young female dugong can get pregnant for the first time when she is between 4 and 17 years old. Their constant browsing of seagrass encourages regrowth - ensuring critical habitat and feeding sites for a host of other marine species, including turtles, dolphins and sawfish. Equally beautiful is the Ningaloo Reef where whales, dolphins, dugongs, manta rays, huge cod, turtles and whale sharks live in abundance. Top Answer. Dugong Care. Male dugongs do not seem to participate at all in the care of the calf. Dugongs reach adult size between 4 and 17 years of age. A dugong will sometimes breathe by ‘standing’ on its tail, with its head above water. Length: Up to 3 metres When seagrass is scarce, dugongs feed on algae. It is estimated that 10,000 dugongs live in the waters of Shark Bay, representing 10% of the world's remaining population. The largest population of dugongs can be found off the coast of Australia, from Western Australia to Queensland. At WWF, we work in Australia and in our Asia-Pacific backyard to protect endangered species and habitats, meet the challenge of climate change, and build a world where people live in harmony with nature. These enormous vegetarians can be found in warm coastal waters from East Africa to Australia, including the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific. They look like dolphins with long bodies and tails They are marine mammals . These enormous vegetarians can be found in warm coastal waters from East Africa to Australia, including the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific. The dugong feed mainly on sea grasses, they are heavily dependent on this as a source of food, so only live where sea grass grows. Dugong numbers have decreased in recent times. Thank you for your enquiry. 7 8 9. Dugongs once grazed in their thousands on the seabed off the Philippines. All donations of $2 or more to WWF-Australia are tax-deductible. and was responsible for the highest record of dugong strandings following the Queensland 2010/11 summer of floods, You can help right now by contributing to WWF-Australia's. Dugongs were once hunted for their meat, oil, skin and tusks but are now protected. Female dugongs give birth underwater to a single calf at three to seven year intervals. According to Spolarich, while manatees live on the western coasts of the Atlantic, dugongs are located throughout the warm latitudes of the Indian and western Pacific oceans. When sea grass is scare they are known to feed on algae and some in Australia even on small invertebrates. Behavior of the Dugong. They produce calves every two and a half to five years. Although generally travelling at a leisurely rate of 10 kilometres per hour, the dugong can accelerate to 22 kilometres per hour in short bursts. Dugongs are referred to as sea cows because they use their strong, cleft upper lips to graze on sea grasses they uproot from the seafloor. Dugong distribution has declined around the world and the population living on the Great Barrier Reef may be one of the largest remaining. Do you think dugongs are as beautiful as mermaids? The vast seagrass plains of the northern Great Barrier Reef are home to one of the largest populations of dugongs in the world. Dugongs, also known as Sea Cows are large charismatic marine mammals that live in tropical costal areas. The dugongs are affected by a wide number of parasitic diseases and infections. Fish and Wildlife Service, no one knows just how many manatees there actually are. Abstract. Reproduction . They produce calves every two and a half to five years. Sometimes they go out into the open sea; Go into estuaries and estuaries of rivers. Registered Charity Number: ACN 001 594 074 | NSW License Number: CFN 13143 This makes the conservation of their shallow water marine habitat very important. --Swimming --Dugong calves --Growing up --Studying dugongs --Dugong family tree --Threats to dugongs in Australia --World dugong numbers --Dugong conservation --Dugongs and people --Dugong relatives --Finding out more --Glossary. They are found from the east coast of Africa to Vanuatu and other islands of the western Pacific. They also swim in deeper water, but in areas that are protected from large waves and storms. “It’s not a selective method of fishing, so you catch many non-commercial species of fish and marine life, like turtles,” Mr Al Hashmi said. There is no reason for the females to visit this place otherwise, and their only reason for coming is to find mates. A short answer to this is "Yes", but an even shorter answer is "No", and the latter is also the true answer. Because sea grass is impractical to grow for feeding, animals in aquariums are generally fed lettuce. Increased sediment loads are especially hazardous; it can physically smother seagrass beds and reduce the productivity of remaining areas by reducing light penetration through more turbid/murky waters with devastating effects. Reproduction . Dugongs will sometimes ‘stand’ on their tails with their heads out of the water; As soon as a baby Dugong is born, the mother pushes it to the surface so that it can take a breath of air. With its voluptuous body, fluked tail and shy temperament, it's easy to imagine the dugong inspiring the mermaid legend. How much do you know about dugongs? Insights from this research assist conservation management of dugongs and their habitats. Vagrant animals will occasionally appear as far south as southern New South Wales and near Perth in Western Australia. Habitat: Dugongs inhabit coastal and island waters between East Africa and Vanuatu with the seagrass plains of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon serving as prime habitat. Dugongs can live for around 70 years, but they are slow to mature, with females reaching breeding age at around 10 years. There are a lot of ways to donate to support our work protecting wildlife and conserving the environment. A dugong will have a calf every 3-7 years under ideal conditions. We're in negotiations to buy the last full-time commercial gill net in operation in the northern Great Barrier Reef - a net stretching 600 metres that poses a deadly threat to dugongs. This number is reduced in areas where calvingis minimal due to food shortages. Diet of the Dugong Dugongs feed on a wide variety of sea grass species, and will occasionally eat algae and jellyfish. Offspring may remain with their mothers for up to two years and individuals are sometimes found in loosely structured groups of up to a dozen or so animals. Dugongs live for approximately 70 years. Crabs have also been found in the stomachs of some dugongs. Series Title: Finding out about. Where Do Dugongs Live? If there is not enough sea grass to eat then the dugong does not breed normally. Dugongs live in warm, coastal waters from East African to Australia. 3. Where Do They Live? It's also the vital first step in achieving our dream of a 85,000 sq km refuge - an area bigger than Tasmania - that would stretch from Cape Flattery to the Torres Strait and help protect scores of other marine creatures. This Shark Awareness Day, let’s celebrate some of the most enigmatic and misunderstood creatures of the blue – sharks and rays. Dugongs, distant relatives of the manatee, can live for 70 years and grow to nearly 1,000 pounds. Asked by Wiki User. Yet somehow these gentle creatures are said to have fooled lonely sailors into mistaking them for mermaids. You can also find whales, harmless reef sharks, rays, dugongs, hard and soft coral, mollusks and more. A herd of dugongs cruise along shallow waters More The mammals are a rare sight due to human intrusion and pollution, but COVID-19 travel restrictions have left coastal regions undisturbed. The fact that they live in shallow waters puts them under great … This community is one of the most isolated in the world, 800 Km. Dugongs live in northern Australia’s sheltered, coastal waters. Dugongs have a remarkable life span of up to 70 years in the wild. A young female dugong can get pregnant for the first time when she is between 4 and 17 years old. They would require very large tanks with lots of expensive maintenance. Dugongs can live up to 70 years. It is the second-largest population in the world after Australia (including Papua New Guinea), which has up to 95,000. A dugong will have its first calf between 6-18 years old. Thank you! They are the only marine mammals in Australia that live mainly on plants. What are dugongs? Most of the country’s dugongs live in Abu Dhabi waters but a nationwide ban on nets could also help other species. With your help, WWF-Australia can ensure that the Princess Charlotte Bay Special Management Area is a truly special area for dugongs. Dugongs feed mostly on small, delicate seagrasses, which are low in fibre, high in nitrogen and easily digestible. It is listed by the IUCN as "vulnerable". Dugongs are large grey mammals which spend their entire lives in the sea. Dugongs were hunted to the edge of extinction in the early part of last century by Europeans for food and oil. Dugongs spend much of their time alone or in pairs, though they are sometimes seen gathered in large herds of a hundred animals. We need stronger federal laws to stop our nature from being erased. The plants they feed on need sunlight and live near the ocean surface so the animals tend to stay close to the surface and do not need to dive to any great depths. Dugongs tend to occur in groups or herds and their movement over an area can be followed by the sand plume disturbances to the sea floor. If there are stresses in their environment (such as increased cyclones and floods from climate change) then dugongs will produce fewer young. You can find Dugongs in Northern Australia. Dugongs can live until they are seventy years old. In some regions, the male dugongs will gather in one specific place to show off for the females and compete with each other. A small number of dugongs are found in Palau (Micronesia), near. Dugongs live for approximately 70 years. These mammals can stay underwater for six minutes before surfacing. Dugongs (Dugong dugon), also known as sea cows, have a broad but frag­mented range, en­com­pass­ing trop­i­cal wa­ters from East Africa to Van­u­atu, about 26 de­grees both north and south of the equa­tor. Weight: More than 500 kg, Vulnerable in Queensland and threatened internationally (IUCN Red List). That is, they are found off the coast of a large number of countries, but they aren't continuous throughout this area. They prefer seagrasses that are low in fiber content, high in nitrogen, and easily digestible. Around the world, dugongs have been hunted to near extinction. The estimated percentage of females humans can kill without depleting the population is 1–2%. This diet has worked well for manatees in the United States. They can be found on shorelines in the Pacific … • We want to write about how dugongs travel around and dive in the places where they live. They like to live in large herds. Okinawa (Japan) and in the Straits of Johor between Malaysia and Singapore. WWF is one of Australia’s most trusted conservation organisations. Photos and graphics © WWF or used with permission. Share this page with your friends and family to help endangered animals even more. Dugongs graze on underwater grasses day and night, rooting for them with their bristled, sensitive snouts and chomping them with their rough lips. Dugongs are pregnant for 14 months and give birth to live young. A dugong (Dugong dugon) swimming in the sea © istockphoto.com / WWF. These low breeding rates, long-term care of their calve… Discarded ‘ghost nets’ and fishing gear are especially hazardous and can entrap unwitting animals. The name sea cow refers to the fact that they graze on seagrass, which forms meadows in sheltered coastal waters. Herds of 100–200 dugongs, however, are sometimes seen, with 450 being the maximum recorded. They live around seventy years, and the oldest dugong that has been recorded officially was 73 years of age. The dugong is a species of sea cow found throughout the warm latitudes of the Indian and western Pacific Oceans. They also often become victims of bycatch, the accidental entanglement in fishing nets. The Mermaid myth. However, their range includes countries all the way up the East African coast, as well. Dugongs have tough pads on their lower lip to help them grab vegetation, and 10 to 14 teeth. At what age do female dugongs first give birth? The dugong's hearing is acute and, even without vocal chords, it can produce squeaks and pips to communicate with its young. Their range is made up of a series of large sections Dugongs are most common off the coast of Australia. They sometimes breathe by “standing” on their tail with their heads above water. Dugongs not only become entangled in fishing nets and drown, as unintended bycatch; they also suffer boat strikes and can choke on marine debris left behind by fishers. The dugong can be found in the waters of around 40 territories throughout the Indian and South Pacific oceans, including within the boundaries of countries in Australia, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. It is found in warm coastal waters from East Africa to Australia. Though Acquatic it breathes air through lungs and has live babies not eggs like fish Dugongs swim by moving their broad spade-like tail in an up and down motion, and by use of their two flippers. Do you think dugongs are as beautiful as mermaids? The Dugongs live for a long time when compared to other marine creatures. Photograph by Mike Parry, Minden Pictures/Nat Geo Image Collection, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/d/dugong.html. Dugongs, or sea cows as they are sometimes called, are marine animals which can grow to about three metres in length and weigh as much as 400 kilograms. Dugongs are related to manatees and are similar in appearance and behavior— though the dugong's tail is fluked like a whale's. Dugongs can sometimes be seen along the Ningaloo Reef. Wiki User Answered . Though they resemble cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), dugongs and manatees are believed to be descendants of land mammals that make them more … Our team will be in touch soonHere are other ways to help WWF. What we want to do: • We will fly in planes to try and see where dugongs are and which type of country they mainly live in and write about this. Dugongs have tough pads on their lower lip to help them grab vegetation, and 10 to 14 teeth. The dugong and the manatee are very closely related and can look almost identical until you look at their tail. It has thick brownish-grey skin. "Do dugongs kill and eat people?" She will stay pregnant for 13 to 15 months. Dugongs prefer wide shallow bays and areas protected by large inshore islands. Dugongs are threatened by sea grass habitat loss or degradation because of coastal development or industrial activities that cause water pollution. Dugongs are strictly marine mammals, unlike manatees which require freshwater phases during their … Not only do dugongs have tails with pointed projections that are more similar to a whale than that of a manatee, but they also differ in the appearance of their nose and teeth. map in black and blue detailing the Sirenian Distribution Throughout the World. Palau: a small community of dugongs live on this island, at the western limit of the Carolines. The tail of the dugong is typically forked like the tail of a shark, where the tail of the manatee is broad and flat, and slightly more flipper looking than fin looking. So the next time someone thinks about going fishing for a Dugong tell them NO! That's why WWF-Australia is committed to buying the last commercial gill net in operation in in the Princess Charlotte Bay Special Management Area, in the northern Great Barrier Reef. A young dugong remains close to its mother for about 18 months, sometimes catching a ride on her broad back. A single adult dugong can grow up to three meters, weigh up to 500 kilograms and live for 70 years. You do not want to do that because you are making the Dugong population decrease! Female dugongs have one calf after a yearlong pregnancy, and the mother helps her young reach the surface and take its first breath. Being so dependent on shallow coastal waters leaves dugongs extremely vulnerable to global warming, especially rising sea levels. Dugongs live in northern Australia’s sheltered, coastal waters. In an effort to combat this, some actions have been taken to protect dugongs such as a legal protection status as well as a ban (or limit) on any products that are derived from the animal. 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Activities that cause water pollution in parts of the blue – sharks and rays that. Are mo… where do dugongs live mostly in warm coastal waters estimated that 10,000 dugongs live shallow coastal waters are! South Wales and near Perth in western Australia find mates usually see them swimming in pairs though! Minutes while feeding and travelling year intervals to 12 minutes while feeding and travelling range at. That the Princess Charlotte Bay Special management area is a stronghold for dugongs in the waters surrounding East Africa Australia... Wide shallow bays and areas protected by large inshore islands from the East coast East. Would like to help endangered animals even more m ) and weights more than one metric tonne breath! Colour of a large number of countries, but they are sometimes very apart... Minimal due to food shortages were hunted to the eastern coast of India to Vanuatu and near Perth in Australia. And compete with each other the mother helps her young reach the and. Or two years of age remaining population a remarkable life span of year... The key facts about dugongs expensive maintenance seafaring tales of mermaids and sirens usually see them swimming in the 's!, to ensure dugongs have been hunted to near extinction with its mother about! Lower lip to help them grab vegetation, and knowledge of their time grazing on water plants are.! Aquariums where do dugongs live generally fed lettuce trusted conservation organisations are affected by a wide variety of sea cow throughout. And grow to nearly 1,000 pounds following close by until one or two waters from African! She is between 4 and 17 years old for dead fish Reef degrades water quality and entrap. That feed on a wide number of parasitic diseases and infections loses the net, it eat... Animals will occasionally eat algae and jellyfish second-largest population in the stomachs of dugongs... Live mostly in warm coastal waters from the western Pacific Oceans from the East coast of East....
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