Dugongs 5 Essay Example

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    Other
  • Document type:
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  • Level:
    High School
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Introduction

Dugong is a marine mammal that belongs to the family Dugongidae. Belonging to orderSirenia, Dugongs were classified as mammals because they are warm-blooded, have mammary glands, and have hairy bodies. Another living species belonging to order Sirenia is known as Manatees. Dugongs are believed to have evolved from early herbivorous mammals that lived in the African coastal swamps during the Eocene period about 45 million years ago. They live in shallow coastal waters in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Dugongs today are found in coastal waters of western Pacific, Australia, India, South-east Asia, and along the coast of the Red Sea in Africa. It is difficult to determine the population of dugongs in the various parts of the world because they keep on migrating, for instance, in search for food. However, research has shown that the largest population of dugongs is found is Australia especially in the coastal region of Queensland. However, dugongs are found in small numbers all over the world because they face extinction, or they are extinct. The extinction threat they face is because they reproduce slowly, are vulnerable to human impacts, and source their food from sea grass that is affected by pollution from time to time. Sea grass beds are destroyed by poor catchment management, improper mining methods, and coastal development projects. The extinction is also caused by chemical pollution from factories, vessel strikes, and also by being entangled by fishing nets and lines. The governments of the concerned regions should have deviced protective measures to ensure dugongs do not become extinct in the next 40 years as research has shown (Patankar 2011, NAILSMA 2006, Meter 1989).

Threats to the Survival of Dugongs

The threats identified to cause dugong extinction include hunting, predation, slow reproduction rate, and decreased levels of sea grass that are their source of food. Dugongs are sources of food, and they are hunted to provide meat. In some places, they are hunted because of cultural inclinations. Sea grass that is their source of food is depleted at a high rate due to sea water pollution, and is also destroyed in the process of coastal development. The creature finds its habitat in the sea waters, and pollution destroys this habitat. Dugongs are also vegetarian mammals surviving on sea grass and grass depletion in the sea means their extinction (Patankar 2011, NAILSMA 2006, Beech 2010).

Protection of Dugongs

Australia is endowed with the largest population of dugongs in the world. There is a need for Australia and other regions with dugongs to establish measures to protect their population from extinction because dugongs are natural creatures that provide ecological balance. Measures should include government partnership and agreement with the indigenous organization to protect dugongs, legislation banning the hunting of dugongs, conservation programs, and government agencies to manage the existence of dugongs.However, it is difficult to control human action and maintain adequate levels of sea grass. The maintenance of sea grass and prevention of dugong poaching needs serious government investment. The dugongs may become extinct if measures are not undertaken to prevent sea pollution and human activity in the beaches that destroy their habitat and food (Patankar 2011, NAILSMA 2006).

Conclusion

In conclusion, dugongs are creatures of importance to nature and provide ecological balance. Therefore, governments should formulate regulations to control legal human hunting and prevent illegal hunting of the mammal. Commercial fishing should also be modernized to prevent unnecessary by catch of dugongs during fishing. Pollution should also be controlled to avoid loss of dugong habitat in the seas. Government laws and regulations should also be strictly enforced to ensure effective protection of dugongs.

References

Beech, M.J.(2010). Mermaids of the Arabian Gulf: Archaeological Evidence for the Exploitation of Dugongs from Prehistoric to the Present. Journal of the National Center for Documentation & Research, 2(3), 3-18.

Meter, V.B.V.(1989). The Florida Manatee. The Florida Power and Lighting Company, 1-41.

NAILSMA (2006). Dugong and Marine Turtle Knowledge Handbook: Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge of Dugong and Marine Turtles in Northern Australia. Natural Heritage Trust, 1-137.

Patankar, E.D.V.(2011). Ecological Studies on the Dugong dugon of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A Step Towards Species Conservation. Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, 1-19.