Make a symbolic dugong adoption to help save some of the world's most endangered animals from extinction and support WWF's conservation efforts. When an animal population is affected by sudden habitat loss or intensive hunting, lots of gene variations are lost very quickly. Dugongs have become an important tourist attraction. Endangered Species. Threats to dugongs. One or two individual dugong live in Abu Dabab bay south of Marsa Alam, and because dugong tend not to stray from small areas, the Abu Dabab dugong have become minor celebrities in the world of diving and snorkeling. About the Dugong. We are open! Book your free ticket in advance. She says, 'We need dugongs as they are important for maintaining healthy seagrass meadows. Dugong Threats – Are Dugongs Endangered? Dugongs are brown in colour and when fully grown, they reach up to three metres in length and up to 400 kilograms in weight. Dugongs are cousins of manatees and share a similar plump appearance, but have a dolphin fluke-like tail. Dugongs live in sea-grass beds in shallow coastal waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Dugongs graze on seagrass, especially young shoots and roots in shallow coastal waters. This makes the conservation of their shallow water marine habitat very important. If there is not enough sea grass to eat then the dugong does not breed normally. The oldest specimen she used dates back to 1827. In other words, it is a drastic shrinking of the gene pool. Bandicoot Endangered. How endangered are Dugongs Today, all four living species are listed as endangered by the IUCN. Although commercial hunting of dugong… What happens to stranded whales? They can consume up to 40 kilograms of seagrass in a day. On the east coast of Queensland, we estimate that each year commercial gillnetting entangles around 50 of these majestic animals, so it's a significant threat to declining populations. Unusually for a modern mammal, we know little of it from a true natural history perspective. Dugongs are an aquatic mammal. Tourists can swim with them or observe them from boats. Okinawa dugongs have smooth, dark gray or bronze skin, fluked tails and downturned muzzles with stiff, whisker-like bristles they use to dig up sea grasses, their primary food source. They feed on phanerogamous sea grasses and are also reported to occasionally eat algae and crabs. For decades, the Great Barrier Reef has enjoyed World Heritage Status and been synonymous with diving, tourism and with Australia. The northern Great Barrier Reef is a stronghold for dugongs, which are threatened all around the world. Hear from scientists studying human impact and change in the natural world. Phylogeography is a relatively new way of studying nature, because it relies on DNA analysis, which has become much easier since the 1970s. Stephanie took samples from 62 specimens from the Natural History Museum collections, along with samples from other institutions around the world. Throughout their range, many human activities threaten dugongs due to the nature of the dugong’s life cycle and its reliance on seagrass habitats. "They are still threatened in some places by habitat destruction, collision with boats, and accidental capture in fisheries targeting other species (called bycatch). It is a problem facing most animals on the brink of extinction, such as rhinos, and it is an issue because a species needs a wide range of healthy DNA in a population to be able to cope with any changes it might face in the future. They grow up to 9 feet long, weigh 550 to 1,000 lbs, and can live for up to 70 years. If there is not enough sea grass to eat then the dugong does not breed normally. The IUCN lists the dugong as a species vulnerable to extinction, while the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species limits or bans the trade of derived products. They have long been hunted as a source of food and oil and this has threatened their numbers. One of their closest relatives, the Steller's … 2000). But heavy tourism, even when it is brought in by the dugong itself, could pose a … Speak up for species and places through WWF's Action Center. There are two dugongs located in the Sydney Aquarium and are 2 out of 4 kept in captivity in the world. Read More. Yes of course they are.Dugongs (DEW.gonGs) are being killed by boats, suffocation of nets, loss of habitat and destruction of breeding grounds. Historically, they have lived along almost all the coasts of the Indian Ocean, and around some islands in the Pacific. The Dugongs main food is seagrass, and to a much lesser extent marine algae when seagrass is scarce. "Dugongs are protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN)'s Red List," Spolarich says. Saving endangered dugongs Passion, Serenity . Discover where the real and wizarding worlds intertwine, and how the wonders of the natural world have inspired myths, legends and magical creatures for generations.  . Baby dugongs are at particular risk. Commercial gillnet fishing is a major threat to dugongs. The results now help us to understand how dugong populations are connected and how genetically different they are from each other.'. Monday - Sunday10.00-17.50 (last entry 17.00), © The Trustees of The Natural History Museum, London, Nelson Mandela University in South Africa, Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature, the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association, the Ocean Park Hong Kong Conservation Fund, additional support came from the Convention for Migratory Species, United Arab Emirates. More recently, an international Memorandum … Dr Stephanie Plön, a researcher at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa, led the latest DNA study on the animals, which is published in PLOS ONE. The greatest threat today, however, is no longer from hunting, but, especially for the Caribbean manatee, from pleasure craft that can inflict serious injuries on the animals with their propellers when they are run over. Perhaps the most important result was that all the dugongs that live around Madagascar are particularly genetically isolated, so may be even more at risk from human activity than previously thought and deserve a higher conservation status. No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died, Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population, Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild, Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild, Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future, Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened. Dugongs are large marine mammals found throughout the Indo-Pacific region and the eastern parts of Africa. Privacy notice. They can grow to 3m and weigh 500 kgs. Dugongs are threatened by sea grass habitat loss or degradation because of coastal development or industrial activities that cause water pollution. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Dugongs are plant-eating marine mammals. Dugongs have long been associated with myths and legends – the Ark of the Covenant was reputedly protected by dugong hide, and early sightings have led to the legend of mermaids. Read the full paper in the journal PLOS ONE. You must be over the age of 13. Dugongs in der Literatur. One of their closest relatives, the Steller's sea cow, has already been hunted into extinction. In the southern province of Trang, along the untouched Andaman coast, some of Thailand’s best-kept secrets are easily accessible from Anantara Si Kao Resort. Marine turtle species have become endangered due to human activities, pollution, habitat degradation and stresses on hatchlings. It is hoped that this research can feed into a reassessment of how dugongs are protected in the future. Print this Dugong Poster out and display it in your classroom when studying endangered animals. Dugongs are susceptible to a wide range of diseases. She found unique and previously unidentified dugong lineages in the Indian Ocean - meaning it is likely there were once even more unique lineages that have already disappeared. Visit GBRMPA Marine Turtles to find out more. Although commercial hunting of Dugongs has been banned, Dugongs are still listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss through coastal development as well as water pollution caused by industrial activities. As animal populations are significantly reduced, this results in genetic bottlenecking. View our inclusive approach to conservation. And unlike manatees, which use freshwater areas, the dugong is strictly a marine mammal. The dugongs are endangered, by many accidents, such as getting hit by boats or getting trapped and drowned in fishing nets. 'Recent studies have also shown that seagrasses, along with mangroves, are important in removing carbon from the atmosphere and oceans, and this so-called "blue carbon" is important in mitigating climate change. Many species are endangered. Dugongs are widly spread from place to place. But the animals are suffering pressures on their coastal habitat, and in many places their numbers are plummeting. But Stephanie's analysis found that it is likely that valuable genetic diversity among dugongs has already been lost during the last 150 years. Some of these diseases are infectious or parasitic and include pneumonia, pancreatitis, and dermatitis. Dugongs are endangered due to loss of seagrass in largely dugong populated areas in the ocean. They are found in the Indian Ocean from eastern Africa to Northern Australia. Dugongs are threatened by sea grass habitat loss or degradation because of coastal development or industrial activities that cause water pollution. Dugongs are air breathing marine mammals, and become entangled in fishing nets and drown. They are sometimes referred to as ‘sea cows’ because they feed almost exclusively on sea grass. Today, all four living species are listed as endangered by the IUCN [2]. Australia is a signatory to both these conventions. They must come to the surface for air and if they become tangled in a net they cannot rise to the … Read More. They also often become victims of bycatch, the accidental entanglement in fishing nets. "Manatees and dugongs, also known as sea cows, are endangered species belonging to the scientific Order Sirenia. Information includes: Where: The majority of dugongs live in the northern waters of Australia between Shark Bay and Moreton Bay. But much bigger threat to their survival is connected with negative human activity. But dugongs are tricky to study because they like to live in muddy water and they all look very similar to the untrained eye, so not much is known about where they travel and how their populations are structured. Individuals are known to occasionally take marine invertebrates such as mussels and tunicates (Heinsohn 1995). Dugongs are an IUCN Endangered marine species like sea turtles, seahorses, sea cucumbers and others. Dugongs help fight climate change by protecting seagrass meadows. Stephanie took 62 samples from these specimens. They were also killed for hundreds of years for their meat and oil. Commercial gillnet fishing is a major threat to dugongs along Australia’s eastern coastline. Night Parrot Critical. A Stellar's sea cow skull (right) next to a dugong skull (left) in the Museum collection. Often, researchers can tell if populations of animals have migrated, or been split in two by continents moving. The greatest danger to dugongs is due to human impact. They are also threatened by pollution, poor water quality and collision with boats. It is a way of studying how and why populations of animals and plants are spread across a certain area, done by looking at the genetics of those organisms. Dugongs are herbivores, relying on seagrass that grows in shallow ocean water - a fragile habitat that is under threat from fishing activities and human occupation. Washington, DC 20037. Alongside a drop in their numbers comes the risk of a loss of genetic diversity. They are protected in India under Schedule I of the Wild (Life) Protection Act, 1972. Wie gefährdet sind Dugongs. Dugongs are endangered because sharks, crocodiles and killer whales hunt them for food. When in the ocean Dugongs eat large amounts of seagrass and other aquatic plants. These are nursery areas for many fish species and thus important for food security in the region. 'Thanks to the availability of samples from all of the museum reference collections used, the researchers were able to obtain genetic sequences from 172 individual animals throughout the entire historic range of the dugong. Why are dugongs endangered? Dugongs are herbivores, relying on seagrass that grows in shallow ocean water - a fragile habitat that is under threat from fishing activities and human occupation. And how can they be useful for research? Richard Sabin, Principal Curator of Marine Mammals at the Museum, says, 'The dugong samples from the mammal collection in the Life Sciences department made a substantial contribution to the overall study. Image: Ruth Hartnup via Flickr. Join us to make change. DISTRIBUTION: DUGONG: Surveys conducted from 2004 to 2018 reveals that the population is within the limits of standard deviation, hence stable. The dugong ( Dugong dugon) exists as the only known herbivorous marine mammal and is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as being vulnerable to extinction due to human activities and hunting. Dugongs live up to 70 years in the wild and grow from 2.4 - 3m, weighing from 230 - 500kg. Dugongs. She used 14 different museum collections, taking DNA samples from the bones or teeth of 162 dugongs. Feeding is the principal activity of dugongs throughout much of the day, and they are known to leave feeding trails of bare sand and uprooted seagrasses. Lack of diversity makes it harder for a species to keep evolving, adapting and ultimately surviving. Night Parrots are small ground-dwelling nocturnal … Sharks, crocodiles, and killer whales, however, feed on juvenile dugongs. In circumstances like this, museum collections can step in to help plug the knowledge gap. It is particularly important to do this because of the vital role the mammals play in maintaining healthy coastlines. They also often become victims of bycatch, the accidental entanglement in fishing nets. Dugongs (also known as sea-cows) are large marine mammals that are herbivores, mainly feeding on seagrass. We're working towards a future where both people and the planet thrive. Get email updates about our news, science, exhibitions, events, products, services and fundraising activities. Dugongs have very few natural predators thanks to their massive size, tough skin, dense bone structure, and rapidly clotting blood. Threats to Dugongs. Also entanglement in fishing wire and nets, coastal development and pollution is a … But in June of this year, UNESCO threatened to downgrade the Great Barrier Reef to the World Heritage ‘In Danger’ list; a category populated predominantly by war-torn and developing nations. Bandicoots are small omnivorous marsupials with pointy snouts, large hind feet, and hop. But some populations could be in a critical condition. We use cookies to make your online experience sweeter. The dugong also has a lot of predators such as sharks, killer whales and crocodiles. Endangered species: Dugongs. Stephanie looked into the genetic history of dugongs across their original range. Negative human activity words, it is likely that valuable genetic diversity in your classroom when endangered! Of gene variations are lost very quickly similar plump appearance, but have almost entirely vanished from waters the... And drown grow to 3m and weigh 500 kgs habitat, and rapidly clotting.! 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