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Dugong (Dugong dugon)

Dugong (Photo: Mandy Etpison)

The dugong inhabits the tropical and subtropical coastal and island waters in the Indo-Pacific from East Africa to Vanuatu, between 26ºN and 26ºS latitudes. It is a member of the order Sirenia, which also includes three species of manatees (see the previous section) and is the only member of the family Dugongidae. Although the dugong is an herbivorous animal like the manatee, it is strictly marine. Large distances often separate dugong stocks, thought to be relict populations, although the animal is known to be able to traverse vast expanses of ocean. Human exploitation has led to extinction of the species in several archipelagoes, including Mascarene, Laccadive, the Maldives, Barren, Narcondam, Cocos (Keeling), and Christmas Islands around the rim of the Indian Ocean, and the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia east of Java.

Range and Habitat:

Across the entire North Pacific north of 35°N and occasionally as far south as 20°N

Status under Law:

Endangered (ESA)

Conservation issues:

Poaching, critically small population units, habitat degradation and coastal development, entanglement in commercial fishing gear

Physical characteristics:

At Birth At Maturity
Length 1.15 m
3.3-4.1 m
Weight 25-35 kg
(55-75 lb)
1,000 kg
(2,200 lb)


Possible to exceed 70 years

Annual Report:

For more information, see the Dugong section from the 2001 Annual Report

Download a copy: PDF (95 KB)

Additional Links:

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Dugong

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Facts About Dugongs


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