Dugong observed in Bali
Rare event: A Dugong plays in the waves of Uluwatu in Bali.
At sunrise, when the tide begins to rise, the crystal clear water still bathes the reef bordering the cliffs of Uluwatu, Bali.
This is a perfect playground for this Dugong (Dongong dugon: Vulnerable marine mammal in danger of extinction). This specimen was observed in shallow water, about 30 meters from the cliff, and gave us a rare scene captured on these photos. Bali is an island where Dugongs were hunted for their bones (used as luck symbol) and meat (very popular with local people).
It is now considered a protected species. Without even seeing it, several surfers on the peack (break point) have passed next to it(less than 3 meters). The Dugong has not even shown signs of fear, and remained on site for more than 20 minutes. It was certainly a magic moment observing this beautiful creature for which the future is uncertain.
The dugong (Dugong dugong) is a protected marine mammal of the Sirenia order. It is in Annexes II and IV of the Nairobi Convention, Annex II of the Bonn Convention and Appendix I of CITES.
The species is listed as vulnerable to extinction by IUCN. It has been protected in France (including Mayotte) since 1995 and in 2007, the country signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their habitats throughout their range (Abu Dhabi Declaration 2007) .
The dugong sexually mature between 6 and 17 years for both sexes (Kwan, 2002; Marsh, 1995). A cow dugong produces a single calf every 2.8 to 7 years. The rate of growth of dugong population is generally 1 to 3% per year (Marsh et al., 2003). Dugongs feed primarily on seagrasses but may also eat algae (Marsh et al., 1982; Spain and Heinsohn 1973; Whiting, 2002).
Their distribution is highly correlated with the distribution of seagrass beds. The species is usually resident. However, daily and seasonal and random movements of individuals were observed, ranging from tens to hundreds of kilometers in both coastal and oceanic habitats (Anderson, 1982; Marsh et al., 1994; Marsh et al .., 2002; Sheppard et al, 2006; Hobbs et al, 2007). The movements and exchanges between dugong populations in the Southwest regional scale in the Indian Ocean (SWIO) have never been studied.
The dugong is present in tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific waters east African coast in Vanuatu between 26 ° north and south parallel (Marsh et al., 2002). The main dugong population is in Australia, with about 70,000 dugongs.