Dugong * Dugong Dugon

It is one of four living species of the order Sirenia (called sea-cows). Its related species, the Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) was hunted to extinction in the 18th century.

The dugong has been hunted for thousands of years for its meat and oil. Sadly, traditional hunting still has great cultural significance in several countries in its modern range, particularly northern Australia and the Pacific Islands. 

In the late 1960s, herds of up to 500 dugongs were observed off the coast of East Africa and nearby islands. Current populations in this area are extremely small, numbering 50 and below, and it is thought likely they will become extinct. There are less than 250 individuals scattered throughout Indian waters.

The dugong largely feeds on seagrass. Dugongs are found in warm coastal waters from the western Pacific Ocean to the eastern coast of Africa. They are usually located at a depth of around 10 m (33 ft).

Dugongs are long-lived, and the oldest recorded specimen reached age 73.