What’s a dugong? Manatee-like animal declared extinct in China

What’s a dugong? Manatee-like animal declared extinct in China


he dugong, a manatee-like creature that’s thought to have impressed myths about mermaids, has been declared extinct in China.

There have been no verified sightings by scientists of the dugong in China since 2000, whereas solely three individuals have reported seeing the animal prior to now three years.

Though there are nonetheless dugongs in different components of the world, the species faces the specter of overfishing and transport accidents, attributable to its sluggish, relaxed behaviour.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL)’s Prof Samuel Turvey, who co-authored the analysis article, stated: “The possible disappearance of the dugong in China is a devastating loss.”

The researchers stated: “Our examine offers proof of a brand new regional lack of a charismatic marine megafaunal species, and the primary reported purposeful extinction of a giant vertebrate in Chinese language marine waters.

“This fast documented inhabitants collapse additionally serves as a sobering reminder that extinctions can happen earlier than efficient conservation actions are developed.”

However what are dugongs and why are they susceptible to extinction?

What’s a dugong and why is it completely different from a manatee?

Dugongs are much like manatees however are strictly marine animals and, in contrast to manatees, they’ve a dolphin fluke-like tail.

They’re the one strictly marine herbivorous mammals, and measure between 8 ft to 10 ft.

Dugongs have been discovered within the coastal waters of 37 tropical international locations, from East Africa, Vanuatu, to the southwestern islands of Japan.

They’ve been recorded in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines.

Dugongs are also called “sea cows” due to how they graze on sea grasses, and for his or her sluggish and relaxed actions.

Why have dugongs been declared extinct in China?

Researchers say that “even when some particular person dugongs nonetheless stay in Chinese language waters, the dramatic inhabitants decline skilled by the species in latest a long time is extremely unlikely to be halted or reversed beneath present situations with the persevering with deterioration of coastal ecosystems within the northern SCS.”

They added: “Dugongs have minimal hope of even short-term survival in the event that they haven’t already disappeared.”

Within the twentieth century, dugongs had been hunted for his or her meat, oil, bones, pores and skin, and enamel, earlier than they had been then listed as a protected animal.

However dugongs have since suffered from destruction of their seagrass habitat, which is being destroyed by air pollution, unregulated fishing, and local weather change.

Dugongs are listed as weak on the IUCN Crimson Record of Threatened Species, that means they’re at excessive threat of extinction within the wild.

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