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 Moreton Bay Dugongs


A large resident population of 850-1000 dugongs lives in the relatively clear waters of eastern Moreton Bay. Dugongs in this area feed in herds of 10-300 individuals, moving up onto the shallow seagrass beds at high tide and moving off to feed in deeper adjacent waters as the tide ebbs. We are studying the population dynamics of this accessible population.

This is the first hands-on and long-term mark-recapture program for dugongs in the world. The UQ Dugong Team has captured more than 800 dugongs representing about 650 individual dugongs in Moreton Bay since 2001. We capture dugongs using the 'rodeo' technique - this involves leaping out of a boat and grasping the dugong firmly around the peduncle region. The dugong is held at the surface for 5-6 minutes whilst measurements are made, and samples and photographs taken.

Seagrass beds in eastern Moreton Bay
Arial shot of small dugong herd in Moreton Bay

 
Capture sequence
 

Dugong held at surface