"Herbivores that are also known as sea cows!"

Dugongs are fairly odd looking creatures due to their distinct flattened nose. Whilst you might think that these creatures are most closely related to dolphins or whales you would be wrong! In fact they are most closely related to elephants.

These special animals are also known as sea cows and can be found in shallow waters around many countries of the world but what's frightening is that numbers are reducing by about 20% over the last few years.

Add to this the fact that most countries where dugongs are found are "developing countries" This means that conservation is less easily controlled in these countries. So it's down to Australia to do its bit for these creatures and ensure they are preserved as much as possible.

Where in Australia are They Found?

Given numbers are rapidly depleting, it's getting harder to find these adorable sea creatures. But around Australia, there are still many. They are mainly around the top parts of Australia stretching from shark bay in Western Australia right round to Moreton Bay in Queensland.

You can also see them in Sydney Aquarium.

Some Key Facts about Dugongs

  • They are one of only 4 species left of Sea cows
  • They can grow to be 3 metres long, can weigh 400kg and live til they are about 70 years old
  • You can measure the age of these creatures by the grooves in its tusks - just like you would do with a tree
  • They have poor eye sight but have sensitive bristles which help them find their food
  • They mainly eat Sea Grass so are herbivores. But they have been known to eat the occasional shell fish too
  • Females give birth to their calf after about 14 months of pregnancy

  • Why are the numbers Declining?

    Numbers seem to fluctuate so it is difficult to determine just how severe numbers have dwindled by here in Australia.

    There are many reasons that would explain the declines:

  • Fishing
  • Severe weather - e.g. a Cyclone in Hervey Bay significantly reduce the amount of Sea Grass in this area
  • Increase boat traffic
  • Land Clearing (has an impact on river run-off)
  • and of course

  • Hunting

  • Top of Dugongs

    More Australian Animals

    Sydney Aquarium

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