A Nationwide Geographic explorer shares recommendations on coming encounter to deal with with the inspiration of legends—dugongs.
| POSTED ON: November 21, 2018
Dugongs, these types of as this one particular in the Red Sea, prefer heat coastal waters. Photo by: Douglas Seifert
A lesser recognised cousin of the manatee, the dugong (Malay for “lady of the sea”) is said to have impressed historic mermaid legends. “Seeing dugongs in the wild is an really specific practical experience,” claims environmental scientist Erina Molina, who obtained hooked on lifetime below the sea when she snorkelled for the first time at age 15. Now, a ten years afterwards, this Nationwide Geographic explorer is devoted to preserving the miracles of the maritime globe she enlists fishers of the Philippines to aid observe dugongs. In this article she shares suggestions on how to face this vulnerable herbivore.
1. The place to Go
Molina suggests two spots where by it’s pretty very likely for snorkellers and divers to arrive experience to confront with dugongs. In the crystalline waters of Calauit Island, Philippines, locals guide conservation-minded tours that typically include an appearance by Aban, a sea cow superstar. “The ideal time to see dugongs below is from March to early June, when the h2o is tranquil and clear,” Molina says. In Egypt, at the lagoon of Abu Dabbab, considerable seagrass sustains dugongs and big eco-friendly sea turtles.
2. What to Do
When swimming with dugongs, go in modest groups of 4 or 5 and limit encounters to 15 minutes. Keep a safe distance—around 15 toes away—and resist the urge to contact an animal. Rather, Molina advises, “keep nevertheless and be silent.” If you are snorkelling, move your fins slowly to keep away from slapping the h2o. As lengthy as they never feel disturbed, dugongs will hold munching on seagrass and offering good image ops.
3. Ways to Aid
Don’t invest in goods made from dugongs (leather, charms, jewelry, traditional drugs). They are strictly regulated, and in some situations banned, by an global treaty. To aid maintain coastal waters clear, avoid single-use plastics. You can understand about and join Nationwide Geographic’s multiyear worldwide campaign to reduce plastic air pollution at natgeo.com/plastics.