The marine life of our lovely planet consists of countless incredible species that are real gifts of nature. Specially the warm and shallow waters between the Equators are full of wonderful creatures and some of them are really stunning. In this article we’ll tell you about a large marine mammal which resembles like a bulky dolphin but in its features it is just like a marine elephant.
This is Dugong which belongs to the family Dugongidae and the order Sirenia. Dugong or Dugong dugon is a huge nomadic sea mammal which are found in the warm coastal waters from the Pacific Ocean to the coast of Africa. But they live in majority around the sea grass meadows of Shark Bay, Australia. Dugongs are basically herbivore as they are the only marine mammal that feed themselves from sea plants. Their diet includes huge amount of sea grass which they graze from the sandy sea floors grown in the shallow and warm waters. The body of the adult Dugong may be of 3 meters in length and they can gain the weight up to 400 Kg. They have nostrils near the top of their snouts and paddle-like forelimbs which they use to swim. Another amazing feature of their body is their 30 meter long intestine. Their outer skin color is grey. The adult female Dugong is able to get pregnancy at the age of 12-14 years and only single young calf is born per pregnancy. The newborn suckling calf may be of 1 m in length and weighs up to 35 kg. The young Dugong starts grazing very early and it is fed by the mother until it is 18 months old. Dugongs have an average life span of 70 years.
The population of Dugongs is under threat as they are hunted in order to get meat and oil. They also suffer by the destruction of the sea grass beds which occurs due to marine pollution and massive coastal development in their range. Dugong , the nomadic sea mammal is listed as a specie vulnerable to extinction by IUCN.