DEAD DUGONG: Mystery over mammal’s death
A DEAD dugong was found at Burrum Heads on Sunday afternoon, the cause of death not known yet.
Co-ordinator of Wildlife Rescue Fraser Coast Natalie Richardson said finding dugongs washed up on the beach was not a common sight, but it wasn’t unusual either.
Ms Richardson said this particular dugong was a young adult female.
She said there was no chance to perform an autopsy but by examining the carcass, Wildlife Rescue was able to rule out boat strike or human interference.
“Collecting data and information about dugongs, alive or dead, is vital in helping with conservation and protection efforts for them both now and into the future,” she said.
Ms Richardson said this information pertains to recording dugong numbers, and in this case, noting one less breeding age female in the animal’s population.
“There is usually a period of several years between a mother dugong having each calf,” she said.
“Their very slow and complex reproduction rates add to this species’ vulnerable population status.”
Dugongs are listed as a threatened species in Queensland and globally, one category before endangered.
The ocean mammals are also threatened by pollution which damages dugongs’ sea grass food source.
Ms Richardson said residents who see stranded marine life, both living and dead, should report the sightings as soon as possible to the Department of Environment and Science on 1300 130 372.
Wildlife Rescue Fraser Coast can be contacted on 4121 3146.