Largest herd of endangered ‘dugong’ or sea cows spotted in Sarangani Bay

Dugong or sea cows were spotted off Sarangani Bay coast. Image: DENR Region 12
Dugong or sea cows were spotted off Sarangani Bay coast. Image: DENR Region 12

A herd of dugong or sea cows were spotted foraging off the coast of Sarangani Bay last week, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said.

Five dugongs were spotted by a drone camera operated by the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape’s (SBPS) management office on what was reportedly the last day of the SBPS Week celebration.

The sighting of the dugongs only stresses the need to recognize Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape as a key marine biodiversity area, according to Atty. Felix S. Alicer, DENR 12 regional executive director and SBPS Protected Area Management Board chairman.

The dugong is a marine mammal closely related to the manatee, and are often spotted in shallow protected areas such as bays and mangrove channels — bodies of water where coastal seagrass is abundant.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the dugong as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, whose range spans 48 countries.

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