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Dugong


Scientific Name:
Dugong dugong
Length:
2.4 - 4.0 m (7.9 - 13.1 ft)
Weight:
230 - 908 kg (500 - 2000 lbs)
Status:
edangered
Prey:
Sea-grass and polychaetes

Physical characteristics

They are short with paddle-like front flippers and a flute-like tail. The skin is thick and brown-gray and covered by coarse hair. They have a very muscular upper lip.

Behavioral characterization

N/A

Distribution

Coastal waters by tropical seas, but can also live in fresh water.

Population size

70,000

Predators

Humans. Crocodiles, killer whales and sharks prey on the young.

Migration/Dispersal patterns

N/A

Social system/Group size

They normally travel as individuals or with a group of two. It is seldom that they are seen in large groups.

Major threats

They are hunted for their meat, hide and oil. Another threat is habitat destruction, especially in urban regions where they live in fresh water.

Research efforts

They are protected in Australia by CITES which prevents to do any trade. Plus, there are conservation areas for just dugongs that are banned from hunters to study them even more before they become extinct.

Fun fact

Some people believe that dugongs are the inspiration of seafaring tales of sirens and mermaids.