KOTA KINABALU: It is normal for dugongs to be found in pairs such as the ones reported in the waters of Kampung Sim-Sim since last week.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) researcher Dr John Madin from its Borneo Marine Research Institute (BMRI) said this of the pair who were spotted at the shallow waters of the coasal village last weekend.
Previously, the village folk were abuzz when the marine mammal appeared there, and returned every time during high tide over the last few days. More than one dugong was spotted on one occasion.
“We will go to the village in Sandakan tomorrow, for now I cannot ascertain as of why they keep coming back to the shores there.
“While it is common for dugongs to be spotted in Sandakan waters, I was informed that was the first for the species to make an appearance at Sim-Sim.
“I have been in contact with the villagers and have asked them if there was seagrass (at the shallow waters). They could not be certain but they said some plants were visible,” he said when contacted by New Straits Times.
He was asked whether the dugongs came to that area because of food, as dugongs were known to feed on seagrass.
The Sabah Wildlife Department has told the public not to disturb the dugongs, which are listed as one of the totally protected species under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.
Dugongs are in the same totally protected category with Sumatran rhinoceros, orang utans, sun bears, proboscis monkeys, clouded leopards as well as green turtles and hawksbill turtles.
“Maybe the representatives from the Wildlife Department could lodge a police report so that the public will not get close to the animals and disturb them,” said John
Source: Borneo Post Online