Thailand: Dugong disappearing fast from Trang

The Nation 19 Jun 13;

Trang's dwindling dugong population is now threatened with extinction as the Seagrass meadows it feeds upon in the waters around Koh Libong have shrunk to 7,306 square rai.

The head of Trang's Marine and coastal resources conservation centre, Prachuap Mokharat, said yesterday that a March survey found Trang's population of dugongs had fallen to between 110 and 115. Most of the dugongs (67 to 70) live in Koh Libong's Laem Chu Hoi and their population is in decline.

Prachuap said a survey also revealed that the dugong's Seagrass fields had shrunk sharply, from 12,173 square rai in 2006 to only 7,306 square rai in 2011. The Seagrass has been decimated by large cargo ships that ply the main shipping route near the island, with increased sediment levels another destructive factor.

Prachuap thus urged all parties to co-operate to prevent the disappearance of the rare mammal from Trang's waters.

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