Today: Thursday, 6 October 2022 year

Dugongs are completely extinct in the seas around China

Dugongs are completely extinct in the seas around China

The dugong, a sirenian marine mammal, no longer inhabits the seas around China. As an international team of scientists notes in their study, the animals, which were granted protected status in 1988, have hardly been seen in this region in recent years. The study was published in the Royal Society for the Advancement of Natural Knowledge journal Open Science.

Scientists analyzed data on how often these animals were seen over the past 100 years and interviewed almost 800 people. The data showed that most often dugongs were found in the seas off the coast of China in the 60s of the last century, and since 1975 their population began to decline sharply. The last time a confirmed sighting of a dugong in these areas was 23 years ago, there have been three such sightings in the last five years, but they have not been officially confirmed.

Scientists note that the rapid economic development of China and neighboring countries has led to an increase in fishing, sea tourism, and construction. This has led to a deterioration in the habitat of marine animals and a reduction in the food supply of dugongs that feed on algae.

 

“Our study highlights the need to take urgent and extreme measures to prevent the extinction of other species that are key to the region’s ecosystem,” the scientists said in the report.

Some population of dugongs still live in the tropical zone of the Indian and Pacific oceans, these animals are periodically found in tropical and subtropical waters between Japan and Vanuatu. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources classifies the dugong as an unstable species, the existence of which will be threatened if conservation measures are not taken.