Red Sea Dugong Project
The Sea Cow Dugong dugon are peaceful and tranquil animals. They appear fat, but are in fact fusiform (being they have a wide middle and taper at either end). They are hydrodynamic, and highly muscular, reaching up to 3 meters in length and weighing up to 500 kg.
Dugongs descended from terrestrial mammals that grazed in shallow grassy swamps during the Eocene (56 to 34 mya) and their closest modern relative is the elephant. Their smooth skin is slate-grey in colour and their bodies are more stream-lined than manatees, with a fluke-shaped tail and a pig-like head. The species' preferred habitats include warm and shallow coastal waters, with healthy ecosystems that support large amounts of vegetation.
Dugongs are believed to be the most endangered large mammal on the African continent, and in East Africa, there is a growing concern that they are in grave danger of local extinction unless immediate conservation measures are taken. Their habitat preferences and slow rate of reproduction render them particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic activities.
The goals of the Red Sea Dugong Project:
• To introduce you to the biology, behaviour and ecology of Dugongs.
• To raise awareness about the threats they are currently facing and their role in the marine ecosystem.
• To provide you with citizen science program opportunities as well as to enable divers and snorkelers to plan, organize and execute a dive or snorkelling tour with Dugongs in a safe and passive manner.