Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dead Dugong Jamnagar Saurashtra Gujarat India Coastal News

Dugong found dead along Jamnagar Gujarat Coastal Area.

A dead dugong that washed ashore along the Jamnagar coast on Friday evening has raised hope that there might be a small population of the rare and endangered marine mammal surviving along the coast in Saurashtra Kutch region.

Dugong or sea cow is usually found in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and Shark Bay and Torres Strait, south of New Guinea. Apart from these foreign destinations, dugong has been sighted along the Indian coast in Gulf of Mannar and Andaman Nicobar.

Divisional Forest Office (DFO) at the Jamnagar Marine National Park, Prakash Sata, said that on Friday evening body of five feet and four inches long, sea mammal aged around four years was recovered.

Sata said there was no apparent external mark of injury on the body which indicated that the mammal might have died on being trapped in the fishing nets. It might have got involved with an accident with a boat.

Sata said that the post mortem will reveal the exact cause of death. But it does not appear to be a case of poaching. He said that the last time a dugong had washed ashore was in 2004.

Sata said there have been sporadic reports of sightings of dugong in the past. The fishermen identify this mammal as "suvar machali" (pig fish) and it is also popularly known as sea cow. Sata said last sighting was reported by a navy official a week ago. However, there are no records of any regular sighting of this rare and endangered species along the state coast.

HS Singh, conservator of forests, said, "There is a history of dugong sighting along the coast from Gulf of Kutch to Pakistan. There is a large quantity of sea grass along this stretch which is suitable for the dugong presence." He said that this was the third time that the dead dugong had been found. In 2002, bodies of two dugongs were found while in 2004, a dead dugong had washed ashore.

He said that the sighting was very rare and the population could be only a couple of dozen from Gujarat to Pakistan coast. A senior officials said that dugong was found in the waters towards Pakistan but this had raised hope of their population along Gujarat coast also.

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