What is Dugong?

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A group of fishermen in Tamil Nadu recently rescued and released a young Dugong that had been caught accidentally in their fishing net.

About Dugong:

  • The dugong (Dugong dugon), also called the sea cow, is a herbivorous mammal.
  • Scientific Name: Dugong dugon
  • Distribution:
    • They have a broad but fragmented range inhibiting the warm coastal waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans.
    • The largest population of sea cows is found in the northern waters of Australia.
    • The second largest population is found in the Arabian Gulf.
  • Dugongs are not considered migratory but are known to travel great distances within their range in order to find food.
  • Habitat: They generally inhabit shallow waters, remaining at depths of around 10 m.
  • Features:
    • Dugongs range in length from about 2.2 to 3.4 metres and weigh 230 to 420 kg.
    • It has a tapered body that ends in a deeply notched tail or fluke
    • The forelimbs are rounded flippers lacking nails; there are no hind limbs nor any discernible neck.
    • They are long-lived animals (up to 73 years).
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN: Vulnerable


Q1) What is a herbivore?

A herbivore is an animal that gets its energy from eating plants, and only plants. Omnivores can also eat parts of plants, but generally only the fruits and vegetables produced by fruit-bearing plants. Many herbivores have special digestive systems that let them digest all kinds of plants, including grasses.

Source: ‘Highly Endangered’ Sea Mammal Dugong Safely Released By Tamil Nadu Fishermen