The endangered dugong is nature’s only vegetarian sea mammal. They resemble a walrus, related to the elephant, called a sea-cow and growing to three metres and weighing up to 400 kilograms. Around the world, dugongs have been hunted to near extinction.
It is estimated that 10,000 dugongs live in the waters of Shark Bay, representing 10 per cent of the world’s remaining population. Dugongs can sometimes be seen along the Ningaloo Reef.
Shark Bay is one of the world’s largest and most secure population of this endangered mammal species. Closely linked with the mermaid myth, these alert, shy and curious creatures can live up to 70 years.
Dugongs have a very low reproductive rate. Females don’t produce their first calves until 12 to 17 years of age. Tours are available, offering visitors the unique opportunity to witness dugongs in the wild.
They can be seen all year round but are more often spotted during Spring (September/October/November). Take a wildlife cruise or scenic flight into the Shark Bay or Ningaloo marine parks, departing from Monkey Mia, Denham, Coral Bay or Exmouth, and discover the delightful dugongs of Western Australia.