• Diving
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Dugongs: The Ocean’s Gentle Giants

Article by GVI


Posted: July 1, 2024

Let’s dive into the intriguing world of dugongs, those laid-back sea creatures. Off the coast of Mozambique lies the stunning Bazaruto Archipelago – with its turquoise waters and sandy shores. Let’s uncover the secrets of these majestic beings and their importance in the coastal ecosystem.

Getting to Know Dugongs

Meet the dugongs – they’re like the chill cousins of manatees! With sleek bodies and long snouts, they’re built for underwater life. Their diet is all about seagrass, keeping things simple and eco-friendly.

Did you know? Dugongs are the only marine mammals that stick to a plant-based diet.

Habitat and Range

Imagine vast seagrass meadows spreading beneath the Indian Ocean waters around the Bazaruto Archipelago. Dugongs love hanging out here, soaking up the warm tropical vibes and munching on seagrass. They prefer shallow coastal spots and peaceful estuaries.

Did you know? Dugongs are known to move around, following the seasons and searching for the best seagrass spots.

Role in Marine Ecosystems

Dugongs aren’t just chilling – they’re essential for keeping the ocean vibe strong! By grazing on seagrass, they shape the underwater scene, providing homes for all sorts of marine life. They’re like the architects of the ocean, creating spaces for everyone to thrive.

Did you know? Seagrass meadows are super important for storing carbon and fighting climate change!

Let’s take some notes from our dugong pals. They’re like the chill influencers of the ocean, showing us how to look after our seas. By protecting dugongs and their homes, we’re making sure the ocean stays awesome for all of us.

Additional Fun Facts

  • Dugongs use tools, like marine sponges, to protect their sensitive snouts while munching on seagrass.
  • These gentle giants can hold their breath for up to six minutes and come up for air every few minutes.
  • They talk to each other using sounds like chirps, whistles and bell-like tones.
  • Females have a pregnancy period of around 13 months and usually have one calf at a time, which they care for around 18 months.
  • Dugongs have been known to hang out with humans in playful ways, showing a cool connection between the two species.
  • Some travel long distances, with some going over 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) in search of food and chill spots.
  • These ocean companions can live for over 70 years or more in the wild, despite their size.
  • They are surprisingly agile swimmers, hitting speeds of up to 20 kilometres per hour (12 miles per hour).

Call to Action

Ready to be part of team dugong? Get ready for an incredible journey with GVI’s marine conservation program in the stunning Bazaruto Archipelago! You’ll dive into warm waters around Benguerra Island, contributing to the preservation of Mozambique’s oldest marine protected area. 

The archipelago is home to a variety of marine life, including dugongs, sea turtles, sharks, and more. Notably, it hosts the last viable population of dugongs in East Africa. Conservation efforts in Bazaruto are crucial for the survival of these gentle marine mammals, making it a critical sanctuary for their protection. 

Being a diving program, you’ll need an Open Water certification. Not certified yet? No worries – we offer training! Enjoy your free time exploring sand dunes or snorkelling among vibrant coral reefs.

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