They can live to over 75 years old. In the old days sailors thought they were mermaids.
Breeding and Caring For Young
A female will not be sexually mature till she is 10-17 years of age, and will only have babies every three to seven years.
Dugongs are classed as Vulnerable. One threat is habitat loss for coastal development and getting hit by speed boats. When high rises are made close to beaches they push sand into where the seagrass is and kills it. In some areas of southern Queensland Dugong numbers have dropped by around 90 percent in recent years.
Australia has the world's largest dugong population. 100,000 Dugongs live in northern Australia and the Torres Strait. Most of which is from habitat loss due to coastal development and boat traffic - in some areas of southern Queensland waters, numbers have decreased by around 90 per cent in recent years. It's not known yet whether a breeding program in captivity may be possible.
How You Can Help
- Adopt a Dugong
- Do a beach clean up
- Spread the message
- Don't build a house next to the beach
- Don't use speed boats