Mar 29, 2009

Another dugong dies in waters off Johor

New Straits Times 29 Mar 09;

PASIR GUDANG: Dugong deaths in the waters off Johor are occurring again.

Two of the marine herbivores, which are listed as protected species and considered a part of Johor's heritage, have been found dead over a span of a week.
Since the much-publicised death of a baby dugong named Si Tenang in 1999, no less than 12 dugong carcasses had been found in Johor waters till 2004.

On Friday, a male dugong, weighing about 300kg, was found floating in the waters off a village in Tanjung Langsat about 5pm.

Fisherman, Aris Abu Bakar, 46, at first thought the three-metre mammal was a bunch of plastic bags.

"I was shocked to discover it was a dugong.

"In my 30 years as a fisherman, this is the first time I have come across a dugong."

Aris, who informed the state Fisheries Department, said there were wounds on the dugong's belly.

On Tuesday, a dead dugong, also weighing 300kg, was found floating near the Sungai Pok Besar jetty in Gelang Patah.

A Fisheries Department spokesman said the waters off Johor were abundant with benthic seagrass, which was the main diet of the dugongs.

The dugongs' migratory path stretches from Sungai Johor, along the coastline eastwards and cuts across to the inland shore of Pulau Sibu, where rich meadows of seagrass are found.

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