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Hugo Rafael Ferna
ndez and
Carlos Molineri
Facultad de Ciencias Naturales,
UNT, Miguel Lillo 205,
4000 S. M. de Tucuma
n, Argentina
Indigenous Use and Trade of Dugong (Dugong
dugon) in Sabah, Malaysia
Dugongs (Dugongidae: Dugong dugon) are
represented by relic populations separated
by areas where they are close to extinction
if they not already extinct (1). However, in
1999, the dugong was determined to still
exist in Malaysian waters after a spate of
dugong deaths was reported in waters near
Johors, in peninsular Malaysia. This in-
cident focused attention on the status of
dugongs in Malaysia, which has led to
renewed interest in conducting research on
dugongs. In eastern Malaysia, dugongs
exist in small fragmented populations
along the coastal seagrass regions of
Sandakan District, Teluk Brunei, and
Kudat District in Sabah (2, 3). In the past
and, to some extent in the present, the
dugong has been exploited by people for
various uses. The remaining dugong pop-
ulations are decreasing in Sabah due to
various threats; namely, incidental catch-
ing and fish bombing, habitat loss as
a result of land reclamation, and pollution
from palm oil plantations and sedimenta-
tion (2–4). This report provides informa-
tion on the traditional uses and
anthropogenic threats to the remaining
dugong populations in Sabah.
Sabah is a state in Malaysia located on the
island of Borneo, which covers an area of
74 500 km
with a coastline of approxi-
mately 1440 km (5). Sabah borders the
South China Sea on its west coast and the
Sulu Sea on its northeast coast. The state
territorial waters extend to 12 nautical
miles, whereas Malaysia m aintains an
Economic Exclusive Zone of 200 nautical
miles (5).
Banggi Island and Kudat Town were
the sites selected for the study. The senior
author conducts an ongoing dugong and
seagrass project on Banggi Island.
Interview Surveys and Monitoring
Interview surveys and a dugong monitor-
ing program were used to obtain informa-
tion on dugong hunting, indigenous use,
and trade of dugongs. To facilitate the
study, in-depth focus group interview
surveys and individual interview surveys
were carried out in 2002 on Banggi Island
and Kudat Town to discuss topics related
to dugongs and threats to dugongs. Focus
groups are a form of group interview that
capitalizes on communication between re-
search participants to generate informa-
tion. This means t hat instead of the
researcher asking each person to respond
to a question in turn, focus group partic-
ipants are encouraged to talk to each other
by asking questions, exchanging anec-
dotes, and commenting on each others’
experiences and points of view (6). The
researchers interviewed a total of 23
groups of two to seven fishermen from
12 villages (kampong, or Kg.): Kg. Lumais,
Kg. Log Tohog, Kg. Kobong, Kg. Sing-
gahmata, Kg. Meliangin, Kg. Perpaduan,
Kg. Karakit, Kg. Kaligau, Kg. Indalupi,
Kg. Timbang Dayang, and Kg. Garib on
southern Banggi Island. Sometimes in-
dividual interview surveys were carried
out when group interviews could not be
arranged. The interviews were informal
and semistructured. Where it was possible
to do so, the interviews were audio-
recorded, after which the interviews were
transcribed. The recorded and transcribed
data were then qualitatively analyzed to
develop major themes such as dugong
hunting, threats to dugong, and traditional
use of dugong. Interview surveys in Banggi
also showed that dugong trade may be
occurring between Banggi and Kudat
Town. This subsequently led to further
interviews in January 2003 in Kudat Town
with traders representing Chinese tradi-
tional medicinal shops, antique shops, and
local markets. In Kudat Town, sometimes
the researchers followed no specific in-
terview format when shopkeepers and
vendors from local markets were inter-
The senior author initiated a program
of monitoring dugong on Banggi Island by
adopting simplified methods of those
conducted by Marsh et al. in 1997 (7). In
all cases the community was willing to
participate and the monitoring program
lasted for 2 years. The task was designed
to be simple because some members of the
266 Ambio Vol. 35, No. 5, August 2006Ó Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2006
community were illiterate; it involved the
use of a simple map of Banggi to inquire
whether any incidences of dugong hunting
and incidental catch had occurred. A
representative member of the village was
chosen to keep the map of Banggi, and key
informants would update him with in-
Dugong Hunting
In the Banggi and Kudat areas there is
significant evidence to believe that du-
gongs are eaten opportunistically when
they are incidentally caught in fishing nets
or during fish bombing. Dugongs are
usually caught in prawn nets (pukat
udang), fishing traps (kelong), and gill nets
(pukat rantau, pukat tenggelam, and pukat
tangsi). Illegal fish bombing is still prev-
alent in parts of Sabah, and appears to be
a major cause of dugong mortality.
Dugongs may sometimes be in the vicinity
when fishermen throw bombs to kill fish,
and once fishermen are aware that du-
gongs are in the vicinity they may throw
two to three bombs in the water to kill
dugongs. When dugongs are caught, they
are either consumed locally or sold to
merchants on other islands near Banggi or
in the Philippines, where dugong is con-
sidered a delicacy, particularly for special
occasions such as wedding feasts.
Informants from the monitoring pro-
gram reported two cases of dugong
hunting in 2002. The animals were caught
during an illegal fish bombing exercise. In
both incidents the entire dugong was sold
on Mangsee Island in the Philippines, and
on Sibogo Island (Banggi). The dugong at
Sibogo was sold at a price of US$105.00.
All parts of the animal were used, in-
cluding the intestines and organs. The
senior author was also offered dried meat
on Banggi Island at no cost from a local
woman who claimed to be the wife of
a fisherman who worked on a Chinese
fishing trawler. The dugong was said to
have been incidentally caught in a net used
by a fishing trawler from Kudat. Whether
the meat was that of dugong was not
The authors learned that in the 1980s
and 1990s dugong meat was often sold in
the Kudat fish market. Dugong meat is
favored by Chinese inhabitants of Kudat
District, likening the dugong to that of
a sea pig. However, greater awareness of
the penalties associated with dugong hunt-
ing and that dugong numbers are de-
creasing, means that the meat is now sold
discreetly and only on rare occasions.
Indigenous Use of Dugong Products
Traditionally, the local Ubian and Bajau
communities have used dugong parts in
the treatment of various ailments. The
tusks and bones of the dugong are
reported to be used for the treatment of
asthma, back pain, and shock. The shav-
ings of dugong tusks are mixed with
lukewarm water to form a concoction that
a person drinks. The dugong tusks are also
said to be used as an aphrodisiac in the
same way as the well-known herbal root
Tongkat Ali is used. Dugong tusks are also
known to be used as amulets to ward off
wild boars from agriculture plots, being
placed in the farthest corners of the plot to
keep the wild pigs away.
The Chinese from Kudat also use the
tusks and bones of dugongs for purposes
not completely known to the authors.
Accounts by villagers indicate that the
bones are used for medicinal purposes. In
September 2002, one male dugong was
reported washed up on shore and stranded
at Tanjung Periok on Balambangan Is-
land. The local people took its tusks and
sold it to Chinese traders from Kudat, and
then buried the dugong. The body of the
dugong could not be found. It was unclear
for what purpose the tusks were used. The
Chinese in Kudat have been known to
fashion dugong tusks into pipes for
smoking, claiming that the fumes emitted
during smoking have medicinal and ther-
apeutic values. However, this practi ce
seems to be outdated and was more
common among the older generations of
Chinese who lived in Kudat.
The dugong’s tears are also reputed to
be used as a love potion, especially when
a man or woman wants to win the heart of
a beloved. A medicine man (locally known
as pawang) from the village of Singgahma-
ta located on Banggi Island related how he
used to obtain the tears. Apparently, when
a client approaches a pawang for a love
potion he will go to sea and use a fish net
to catch a dugong. When a dugong is
caught in the net it sheds tears, which the
pawang soaks up with cotton wool and
then stores them in a vial. (When a du-
gong’s eyes are exposed to air, the lacrimal
glands secrete tears.) After the tears have
been collected, the pawang must free the
dugong. The pawang reads a spell, but the
love potion will work only if the suitor is
sincerely interested in pursuing a serious
relationship with their beloved.
Trade in Kudat
There are conflicting reports of the use of
dugong tusks in traditional Chinese med-
icine in Kudat. Locals from Banggi had
claimed that the Chinese in Kudat used the
tusks for medicine. However, when shop-
keepers from Chinese traditional medicine
shops were consulted they stated that they
had not used dugong bones or tusks in
medicine, nor did they sell dugong parts,
nor did they recommend using dugong
parts. It could be possible that Chinese
traders bought dugong tusks out of
curiosity and used them for ornamental
Antique shops and local markets in
Kudat still sell dugong bones and tusks,
albeit discreetly. When one antique dealer
was asked about dugong tusks he pro-
duced four tusks; two from the same
dugong and two from two different
dugongs. He was apparently given the
tusks 20 years ago. He commented that the
tusks were now rare and offered to sell
Figure 1. Location of study sites in Sabah, Malaysia.
Ambio Vol. 35, No. 5, August 2006 267Ó Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2006
them to the senior author for a price of
At Kudat market dugong bones, tusks,
and tears may still be sold for ornamental
and medicinal purposes. A street vendor
claimed that he knew of a dugong bone
and showed it to the senior author at the
next market day. He explained that he had
obtained it from a Dusun (an ethnic group
in Sabah) villager in Paitan (Sandakan) 1
to 2 y ago. The tusk had apparently been
leveled off using a pestle to grind off chips
to mix with water and milk. This concoc-
tion was subsequently fed to children who
had suffered from shock. Perfume is being
sold at the Kudat night market with claims
that it contains dugong tears. It remains
unclear whether the perfume actually
contains dugong tears.
Conservation Issues
There is significant evidence from this
study to believe dugong hunting and
dugong trade are still occurring on Banggi
Island with some demand for it in the
neighboring islands of Mangsee and
Sibogo, a nd in mainland Kudat. The
results of this survey confirm the previous
findings of Jaaman and Lah Anyi (2) who
also learned that dugongs have been
hunted tradition ally, especially in the
districts of Sandakan, Tawau, and Kudat.
Bajau Laut communities are especially
known to take part in dugong hunting.
Jaaman and Lah Anyi (2) described that
dugong hunters would leave at dawn in
quiet sailboats to search for dugong
feeding grounds and use harpoons to
spear the animals. The fishermen would
enlist the help of indigenous medicine men
(pawang) who would cast spells to locate
dugongs. Once the dugongs were caught
they would be t aken home for local
consumption or sold in Sandakan, Kudat,
and Semporna. Jaaman (2) also described
the various indigenous uses of the dugong
in medicine and in amulets to protect
farmers from evil spirits.
Dugong num bers are perceived as
continuing to decrease in Sabah. Dugongs
are k-selected species, which are charac-
terized by relatively large size, long life,
low rep roductive output, and require
a high degree of homeostatic control to
maintain a stable population (8). Popula-
tion simulations indicate that even with
the most optimistic combinations of life
history parameters (e.g. low natural mor-
tality and no human-induced mortality)
dugong populations are unlikely to in-
crease at more than 5 percent per year (9,
10). This means that dugongs are even
more vulnerable to anthropogenic pres-
sure. Therefore, it is imperative th at
serious approaches need to be taken to
ensure that dugong hunting and dugong
trade are discontinued. Trade movements
need to be monitored more carefully in
Banggi Island and Kudat, especially by
fishing trawlers, which use large trawl and
prawn nets that are capable of catching
large animals such as dugongs. It is
recommended that an on-board observer
program be initiated with fishing trawlers
and fishin g boats (kapal) to observe
whether dugongs and other marine ani-
mals are incidentally caught, and to pro-
vide information on the numbers, extent,
and frequency of dugong hunting. Further
interviews and investigations could be
conducted with the owners and workers
of fishing trawlers, local fishermen, and
the local Chinese community in Kudat to
confirm whether dugongs have been used
for consumption, medicinal purposes, or
ornamental purposes. Similarly, further
interview surveys could also be conducted
in Sandakan and Tawau to learn of
dugong hunting and its trade.
The dugong is already protected under
Malaysian law, and international, nation-
al, and state regulations are in place to
improve the status of the species. The
dugong has been classified as vulnerable
to extinction since 1996 (11). The dugong
is also listed in Appendix I of the
Conv ention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild
Fauna and Flora. In Sabah, the dugong
is protected under the Wildlife Conserva-
tion Enactment of 1997. Under Section 25
(1) of the Wildlife Conservation Enact-
ment dugongs are entirely protected ani-
mals under Part 1 of Schedule 1. A person
who is caught hunting dugong is subject
to a term of imprisonment for not less
than 6 mo but not exceeding 5 y. If an
animal is caught or taken unavoidably
during fishing, and if it is alive, it is to be
released immediately. If it is dead, the
catching and taking thereof is to be
reported to the authorities. The Wildlife
Conservation Enactment of 1997 takes
effect outside the boundaries of all Sabah
parks and the three islands of Labuan.
The three islands of Labuan are under the
jurisdiction of the Fisheries Act 1985. The
Wildlife Conservation Enactment of 1997
is applicable only in the state of Sabah.
Different enactments to protect the du-
gong are used in Sarawak (Wildlife Pro-
tection Ordinance 1998) and peninsular
Malaysia (Fisheries Act 1985).
Stringent efforts should be made to
educate, encourage, and equip the enforce-
ment authorities to discourage fishermen
from fish bombing. Incentives for alterna-
tive livelihoods that are suitable for local
fishing communities should be encour-
Finally, it is recommended that a com-
munity education program to assist local
fishermen and others on Banggi Island
and Kudat to increase awareness, and to
promote an understanding of the laws and
penalties involved in illegal dugong trade.
The community also needs an explanation
of the importance of adhering to the laws
and the indirect benefit of protecting
endangered species such as the dugong.
This program could also extend to other
endangered species in Sabah.
References and Notes
1. Marsh, H. 1993. The Status of the Dugong. Sirenews,
Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Sirenia Specialist Group.
20, 14.
2. Jaaman, S.A. and Lah Anyi, Y.U. 2003. Dugongs in
east Malaysian waters (Dugong Dugon Muller, 1776).
ASEAN Review of Biodiversity and Environmental
Conservation (ARBEC), (
3. Rajamani, L. 2004. The Last of the Sirenians: The
Status of Dugongs and their seagrass habitats in Sabah,
Malaysia. Final report submitted to WWF-Malaysia
under the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion (SSME)
Conservation Program, 75 pp.
4. Marsh, H., Penrose, H., Eros, C., Hugues, J. 2002.
Dugong Status Reports and Action Plans for Countries
and Territories. UNEP Early Warning and Assessment
Report Series. The World Conservation Union, Gland,
5. Sabah ICZM Spatial Plan. 1999. The ICZM Spatial
Work Plan Group. Sabah ICZM Task Force. Town and
Regional Planning Department, Sabah, Malaysia.
6. Kitzinger, J. 1994. The methodology of focus groups:
the importance of interaction between research partic-
ipants. Sociol. Health Illness 16, (1), 103–121.
7. Marsh, H., Harris, A.N.M., Lawler, I.R. 1997. The
sustainability of the indigenous dugong fishe ry in
Torres Strait, Australia/Papua New Guinea. Conserv.
Biol. 11, 1375–1386.
8. Begon, M., Harper, J.L., Townsend, C.R. 1990.
Ecology (2nd ed.). Blackwell Scientific Publications,
9. Marsh, H. 1995. The life history, pattern of breeding
and population dynamics of the dugong. In: Population
Biology of the Florida Manatee. O’Shea, T.J., Acker-
mann, B.B., Percival, H.F., (eds.). US Department of
the Interior, National Biological Service, Information
and Technology Report No. 1, 75–83.
10. Marsh, H. 1999. Reproduction in Sirenians. In: Re-
production in Marine Mammals. Boyd, I.L., Lockyer,
C., Marsh, H.D., (eds.). In: Marine Mammals. Rey-
nolds, J.E., Twiss, J.R., (eds.). Smithsonian Institution
Press, Washington, D.C., pp. 243–256.
11. IUCN. 2003. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN), Gland,
12. We thank the Dugong Seagrass and Fisheries Integrated
Management project (IRPA 08-10–0017 [95124]) and
the SSME—Mobilize Conservation at an Eco-egional
scale (MYS 486/02) for providing the funding for our
interview surveys in Banggi Island, Kudat District, and
in Kota Kinabalu. We also thank the Department of
Wildlife Sabah, and especially Mr. Edward Tangon, for
their assistance in our project. Thanks also to the
numerous anonymous informants in Banggi Island and
Kudat Town.
Leela Rajamani
Borneo Marine Research Institute,
Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Locked
Bag 2073, Sabah 88999 Kota
Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Dr. Annabel S. Cabanban
Sulu-Sulawesi: Marine Ecoregion
Manager, WWF-Malaysia,
Suite 1-6-W11, 6th Floor, Jalan
Centre Point, 88000 Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia.
Dr. Ridzwan Abdul Rahman
Borneo Marine Research Institute,
Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Locked
Bag 2073, 88999 Kota
Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
268 Ambio Vol. 35, No. 5, August 2006Ó Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2006
... In Sabah, Malaysia, dugong are killed opportunistically for example when caught as bycatch or killed by bomb fishing. The meat is eaten and some body parts are used for medicine and other uses (see below in the 'Other materials section') (Rajamani et al., 2006). They are also traditionally hunted for food by Bajau Laut (Perrin* et al., 2002). ...
... wedding), ornaments and amulets by Bajau, Ubian and Chinese communities in Kudat and Banggi Island. They also use the tears of dugongs (collected by medicine men after capture when exposed to air) for love potions (Rajamani et al., 2006). In Viet Nam, dugongs are hunted for their meat, but their bones, teeth and tusks are used for medicine or sold to China for medicine. ...
... In Kudat, Malaysia, dugong tusks are made into pipes because the smoke is said to have medicinal properties. Other parts of the body are used for medicinal and other purposes (Rajamani et al., 2006). ...
... In Sabah, Malaysia, dugong are killed opportunistically for example when caught as bycatch or killed by bomb fishing. The meat is eaten and some body parts are used for medicine and other uses (see below in the 'Other materials section') (Rajamani et al., 2006). They are also traditionally hunted for food by Bajau Laut (Perrin* et al., 2002). ...
... wedding), ornaments and amulets by Bajau, Ubian and Chinese communities in Kudat and Banggi Island. They also use the tears of dugongs (collected by medicine men after capture when exposed to air) for love potions (Rajamani et al., 2006). In Viet Nam, dugongs are hunted for their meat, but their bones, teeth and tusks are used for medicine or sold to China for medicine. ...
... In Kudat, Malaysia, dugong tusks are made into pipes because the smoke is said to have medicinal properties. Other parts of the body are used for medicinal and other purposes (Rajamani et al., 2006). ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Southeast Asia is an area of rich marine biodiversity providing a host of ecosystem services that contribute to the well-being of coastal communities and beyond. Sustainable management of ecosystems and the services they provide requires a good understanding of their underlying ecological functions and processes. This understanding can be gained through the rigorous assessment of studies identifying and quantifying ecological functions and ecosystem services. The aims of this study were to review the ecosystem services provided by marine and coastal habitats in Southeast Asia. The ecosystem service potential was scored for each habitat. The review was focused on nine key marine and coastal habitats, identified across four case study sites in Southeast Asia, contributing 18 marine relevant ecosystem services. The approach comprised a literature review supplemented with observations from experts from the case study areas. The four case study sites consist of three Man and Biosphere Reserves in Southeast Asia: Palawan in the Philippines, Cu Lao Cham- Hoi An in Viet Nam, Take-Bonerate Kepulauan Selayar in Indonesia, and a recently gazetted marine protected area, the Tun Mustapha Marine Park in Malaysia. The nine key habitats (eight benthic and one pelagic) covered in this review, identified as highly relevant for most case study sites, were mangrove forests, coral reefs, seagrass meadows, sand, mud, rock, coarse substratum, pelagic and modified habitats. Further division of these habitats into sub-habitats on the basis of biological type and substrate type was used to capture data on differential provision of ecosystem services within the broad habitat types.
... There are still many local people who believe in the medicinal properties of dugong's body parts (Jaaman, 2000;Jaaman et al., 2000b;Jaaman et al., 2001;Jaaman and Lah-Anyi, 2002;Jaaman and Lah-Anyi, 2003;Jaaman, 2004). Local Ubian and Bajau communities use the tusk and bones for the treatment of asthma, back pain and shock (Rajamani et al., 2006). The shavings of dugong tusk are mixed with luke-warm water to form a concoction that a person drinks (Rajamani et al., 2006). ...
... Local Ubian and Bajau communities use the tusk and bones for the treatment of asthma, back pain and shock (Rajamani et al., 2006). The shavings of dugong tusk are mixed with luke-warm water to form a concoction that a person drinks (Rajamani et al., 2006). They also believe that the tears of dugong, perhaps coupled with witchdoctors' spells, are a kind of attractant to the opposite sex. ...
... Illegal blast fishing is also used as a means to hunt dugong. Dugongs may sometimes be in the vicinity when fishermen throw bombs to kill fish and once the fishermen are aware that dugongs are around two to three bombs are thrown into the water to kill dugongs (Rajamani et al., 2006). They are either consumed locally or sold to merchants on other islands near Banggi or the Philippines where dugong is considered a delicacy, particularly on special occasions, such as wedding feasts (Rajamani et al., 2006). ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The dugong in Malaysia is protected by law. The Constitution of Malaysia empowers those at the federal and the state levels to make laws regarding wildlife resources. As such, 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia and the federal territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan) are managed under an Act, while Sabah has an Enactment and Sarawak an Ordinance. Federal legislations pertaining to dugongs include the Fisheries Act 1985 (Part VI Section 27 - Aquatic mammals or turtles in Malaysian fisheries waters) and the Fisheries Regulations 1999 (Control of Endangered Species of Fish). The former applies to Malaysia’s 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), while the latter applies to the whole country. Several state laws reflect the federal legislation and include specific regulations for management of wildlife within State jurisdiction. The Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 applies to Peninsular Malaysia, while the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998 and the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 apply to Sarawak and Sabah respectively. These laws and regulations list Dugong dugon as a totally protected species. Essentially, the law prohibits any person from fishing, catching, disturbing, harassing, taking, hunting, killing, possessing, selling, buying, transporting, consuming, exporting and importing any marine mammal (including parts of the animal) that is found in Malaysia. If any marine mammal is caught or taken incidentally during fishing, such animal, if alive, must be released immediately or, if dead, the catching or taking of it thereof shall be reported to the authority. The management of marine mammals and enforcement of protection laws and regulations in Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan are the responsibilities of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks and Department of Fisheries Malaysia. In Sabah, The Department of Wildlife Sabah, Department of Fisheries Sabah, and SabahParks are the responsible authorities. Sarawak Forestry Corporation and Forest Department Sarawak hold the jurisdiction to protect and manage marine mammals in Sarawak. To date, there is no legislation that protects the seagrass resources except those found in locations that have been gazetted as marine parks. Part IX, Act 4(1) and (2) of the Fisheries Act 1985, states that an establishment of a location in the Malaysian waters as a marine park or a marine reserve, by the Ministry of Agriculture, to: a) provide protection to the aquatic flora and fauna, to preserve and manage natural breeding grounds and aquatic life habitat with special attention to endangered species in the area or part thereof b) allow natural regeneration of low abundance aquatic life and to promote scientific study and research of the gazetted area or part thereof c) preserve and enhance the pristine state and productivity of the area d) avoid irreversible damage of the area or part thereof that has been gazetted by regulating recreation and other activities in the area. However, referring to Appendix II, there are major seagrass areas that have been determined as dugong feeding grounds but are not protected by the above act as they are not gazetted as marine parks. Seagrass resources should be given the same conservation attention as mangrove and corals (Japar Sidik et al, 2006)
... Seagrass is a staple food of marine mammal species, e.g., dugongs, which play an important role in maintaining the habitat balance of seagrass ecosystems. To date, various researchers have explored dugong habitats in the Coral Triangle, which has revealed their status, utility, diseases, threats, and biodiversity conservation measures (Marsh 2000;Rajamani et al. 2006;Grayson 2011;Angsinco-Jimenez et al. 2013;Hashim et al. 2017). In addition, the Coral Triangle is the habitat of various endangered (EN), VU, and critically endangered (CR) marine turtles. ...
... Local people used to catch dugongs for many purposes and trade them illegally (Nijman and Nekaris 2014;Lee and Nijman 2015), and interestingly the selling of dead dugong's meat was also reported from Indonesia, which means the meat and other parts of this animal are a lucrative business in Indonesia (Syafutra et al. 2018). One study suggested that illegal hunters used to catch these beautiful creatures by throwing explosives, creating shockwaves, killing the animals, and selling the meat to the local market, as the value and demand for dugong meat are at their peak in illegal markets (Rajamani et al. 2006). ...
Area of the Coral Triangle (CT), namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste, comprises 5.7 million km2 of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most bio-diverse marine eco-regions on the planet, as well as a global hotspot for seagrass species. Many sea creatures of this eco-region rely on the seagrass ecosystem, especially dugong species extensively (a total number of 2279 individuals), sea turtles (4–6 species), benthic organisms, and fish. Apart from these ecological services, carbon sequestration (2.6 billion Mg CO2 storage) by the seagrass ecosystem is considerably higher in comparison to terrestrial vegetation. In this paper, we scrutinized previously acknowledged seagrass species distribution, the associated fauna in seagrass meadows, the total carbon sequestration in the Coral Triangle, past and present research conducted on seagrass and other aspects, and major threats to seagrass ecosystems within this biogeographic region. Depending on their different locations, the six CT countries have a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 19 seagrass species that belong to four distinct families (Hydrocharitaceae, Cymodoceaceae, Zosteraceae, and Ruppiaceae) and cover almost 58,550.63‬ km2. While a total of 21 species of seagrass have been found throughout this eco-region, very little research has been conducted to assess the overall status of the ecosystems within this eco-region. Seagrass ecosystems and services from these habitats within the Coral Triangle are also associated with 100 million human inhabitants, who are supported directly or indirectly by the resources of this ecosystem. These inhabitants may cause considerable disturbance to seagrass ecosystems. For the long-term sustainable management and conservation of these ecosystems, two types of threats, namely local human activities and global transboundary issues including climate change, have been identified and need to be taken into consideration. In terms of human activities, local threats include water quality deterioration due to sewage and pollutant discharge, agricultural activities mainly from palm oil plantations, over-exploitation of seagrass-associated resources, sediment runoff, and destructive fishing practices. Global threats comprise macro and microplastics, sea-level rise due to climate change, global warming, and acidification. Further study of social, cultural, and economic interaction between the local inhabitants and seagrass ecosystems is highly recommended for assessing the ecological and economic contribution of this habitat to the human societies of the Coral Triangle. Despite their importance for human food services and the maintenance of the food web for marine and coastal animals, human activities have a negative impact on seagrass ecosystems around the world, particularly in the Coral Triangle.
... For many decades dugongs have been used for various uses particularly meat as a food, oil and bones are used to cure some diseases such as labour pain, arthritis asthma, back pain, and shock and the results of this study showed that, dugongs are mostly used as food (Table 4) which is in line with the studies of (Rajamani et al., 2006) and (Marshall, 1998). The present study together with previous studies all emphasize that dugongs are being used as a food. ...
... In this study it showed that, dugongs have supernatural power that can help people in love to solve their problem, this result concur with the study of Rajamani et al.,(2006) who reported that, dugong's tears are reputed to be used as a love potion, especially when a man or woman wants to win the heart of a beloved one. (Muir et al., 2003) when reported that in Pemba Island, there were 13 reports of dugongs stranding in 1990s. ...
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This study was conducted to determine dugong's population status and their distribution in respect to explore the possible threats and managements approaches of dugongs and their habitat in coastal waters of Pemba Island. Questionnaire-based interviews were conducted between 2016 and 2017 with fishers (n= 180) at four sites. One focus group discussion was held in each site and six key informant interviews were carried out. Binary logistic regression was used to determine the effect of ages on dugongs sighting, and the results indicated that, there is no effect of ages on dugongs sighting since a p-value is 0.411. The results indicate that there are many anthropogenic and natural threats that affect dugongs and their habitats which include entanglement in a fishing gears, trawling, habitat destruction, bad fishing methods and natural environment changes. The finding of this study revealed that, there is occurrence of dugong in Pemba Island since one live dugong was accidentally caught in a fishing net in Chambani Mapape area of Pujini in May, 2017. The study recommends monitoring of dugongs and their habitats. Also conservation and management by establishing dugong hot spots at known dugong locations at Chambani Mapape area of Pujini.
... They are often observed in Lawas, Sarawak with the existence of high diversity seagrass species in the waters [57]. Dugongs have extremely low reproductive rates and require high dedication to nurture their calves [58]. Researchers have pointed out that the dugong population increases merely at a maximum rate of 3% annually only if they live in conditions with minimal anthropogenic and are not subjected to human-caused mortality [55]. ...
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Plastics are widely used in daily lives but uncontrollably dumped into the ocean by humans. Plastic pollution is harmful to the marine environment and organisms as it can break down into microplastics (MPs) and release chemicals into the water. Microplastics (MPs) are small, fragmented plastic pieces (< 5mm) that exist in every part of the ocean. MPs are problematic because they are hard to recover and can be easily consumed by marine organisms, resulting in bioaccumulation and biomagnification in the food chain. Malaysia is a tropical country located at the heart of Southeast Asia (SEA) and owns diverse marine ecosystems and organisms. Malaysia is affected by plastic pollution due to rapid development and intense economic activities. In this paper, we discuss the plastic pollution crisis in Malaysia and its contributing factor. We review the possible effect on the marine environment in Malaysia. Knowledge gaps to manage plastic pollution in Malaysia are also addressed. As MPs are consistently discovered in different compartments of the Malaysian marine environment, there is an urgency to develop a better waste management system and strong cooperation from all societal levels to handle plastic pollution in the country.
... When asked about their perception of regulating and supporting services during participatory mapping, participants tend to focus their responses on animals instead of abiotic features. This may be due to participants being able to relate better to animals that form part of their folklores and belief, such as the dugongs in Kudat and Banggi Island [48]. Note that the participants of participatory mapping were mostly senior members of the community, and it is possible that regulating and supporting services were not central to their qualitative narratives of their environment and communities due to them prioritising provisioning services instead [27]. ...
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Protected areas in Malaysia have always been managed using top-down approach that often exclude the local communities, who are the main users of ecosystem services, from the planning and management. However, a newly established multiple-use marine park in Malaysia, Tun Mustapha Park (TMP), aims for inclusivity in managing the park. This research explores different participatory approaches (i.e. participatory mapping and Photovoice) to understand the ecosystem services and the dynamics surrounding the services in TMP. Community-based organisations and a mariculture farm in TMP were invited to participate in this work. The participants mapped the ecosystem services and provided in-depth qualitative data that supported the maps, besides highlighting ecological, sociocultural and economic issues surrounding the ecosystem services. Furthermore, the participants provided suggestions and recommendations that carry political effects. Therefore, the participatory approaches employed here had provided rich visual and spatial data to enhance the ecosystem-based management of TMP besides empowering the participants to voice out for their communities. The results generated from this work were also further utilised to fill in the gaps of knowledge in a separate ecosystem service assessment matrix. However, the output from participatory approaches should not be considered as the ultimate outcome but rather as supplement to the planning and management of TMP due to potential human errors and biases. Although the participatory approaches came with limitations and challenges that may have affected the findings here, these nonetheless had provided support to the capability of local communities to provide information crucial for management of protected areas as well as room for improvement for further work.
... In addition, interviewees in this and other studies state that manatee oil (the lightest elements only, derived by warming and filtering the fat) has a medicinal effect (Lima et al. 1997;O'Shea et al. 1998;Hines et al. 2005;Rajamani et al. 2006;Souto et al. 2011;Ferreira et al. 2013), and can be used to treat rheumatism, muscular pain, thrombosis, allergy and inflammation (Alves and Rosa 2007). Other authors have reported its use for healing of asthma, as a general healing ointment for hernias (Zaniolo 2006). ...
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The Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) is a herbivore, endemic to the Amazon basin, and its distribution is related to the flood pulse and the availability of aquatic plants. It is known that it inhabits well differentiated environments, such as igapós of clear and blackwaters. It is currently in the threat category "vulnerable" due to hunting events (historical and current), its low reproductive rate and the destruction of its habitats. Although they are extremely important, most of the studies on the Amazonian manatee's feeding were developed using stomach contents or field observations, which provide information on short-term. Through field surveys in lakes of igapós of black (Negro River) and clearwaters (Tapajós River), interviews with traditional communities in Federal Protected Areas (PAs) and analyses of stable isotopes of C and N in teeth and bones of the Amazonian manatee, I obtained information on the dynamics of food availability, biology and diet in different ontogenetic classes. Physical and chemical parameters of the water of the studied lakes varied greatly during different phases of the flood pulse. Of all the 57 species of plants registered, only 13 occurred in the two ecosystems. In the Negro River, availability of herbaceous plants is scarce and limited to vines during the period of high waters, when they had the great cognitive salience in manatees’ diet, according to interviewees. In Tapajós River there is a great richness of herbaceous plants throughout the flood pulse. The plants with highest cognitive salience were submerged with floating leaves and rooted submerged. Although there is no variation in the δ13C and δ15N signs between teeth, the differences among individuals indicate that the Amazonian manatee diet is related to the availability of resources, and their food preferences or nutritional needs. In addition, the species feeds on a variety of plants and algae, whose proportions vary according to the ontogenetic class and ecosystem. Food availability may be a determining factor in the trophic migration of the Amazonian manatee between igapós and várzeas, especially in the case of the lactating females of the lower Negro River. For this reason, the establishment of interinstitutional initiatives to guarantee the regional protection of the species, considering the possibility of movement between habitats, requires special attention. In order to reduce species threats and increase the effectiveness of PAs, greater involvement of local people and adjacent areas is needed in activities that increase their awareness of the conservation relevance of natural environments and endangered species like the Amazonia manatee
... Sharks, dugongs, and marine turtles continue to be targeted for lucrative trades, resulting in severe population declines throughout the region [27,30,31,46,58]. At the same time, these same species are an important attraction for the region's fast growing marine tourism industry, which serves as a potential avenue for funding marine conservation. ...
This study quantifies the Total Economic Value (TEV) marine turtles contribute to the Semporna Priority Conservation Area in Sabah, Malaysia, based on field surveys conducted in May 2014 with marine stakeholders, including 60 fishing households, 9 resorts, and 7 government and academic institutions. The estimated TEV of marine turtles was USD 23 million per year, ranging from USD 21-25 million. The estimated non-consumptive value of marine turtles far exceeded the consumptive use value. Moreover, the protection of marine turtles could potentially generate 1146 tourism jobs, equivalent to USD 469,000 in employment income per year. Conservation could be partially funded from tourism, as tourists were willing to contribute USD 1.5 million for marine turtle protection and conservation annually. Scenario analysis showed that the discounted TEV of marine turtles could reach up to USD 716 million over 30 years if full protection of turtles was implemented now. This is more than double the discounted TEV of marine turtles under status quo conditions (USD 262 million). By showing the substantial economic value derived from marine turtles, this study not only provides an important incentive for protecting marine turtles in Semporna, but also for investing in conserving marine resources in the wider Coral Triangle and Asia Pacific region.
This paper considers the 'Dugongs, les dernières sirens', or, 'Dugongs: the last remaining mermaids' exhibition at Aquarium des Lagons in New Caledonia as a touristic commodification of the maritime beast lore of the dugong (or mermaid). In unpacking the exhibit several other themes emerge, such as the absence of Kanak perspectives and issues of colonization / de-colonization.
Polymer-dispersed liquid crystals (PDLC) are widely used for electro-optic applications such as flexible displays, privacy windows or projection displays. Besides these applications, the confinement of a liquid crystal to small cavities is of fundamental interest. The present paper contains a review of the work on nematic and cholesteric PDLCs. Moreover, some very recent developments are summarized such as the use of ferroelectric liquid crystals for PDLC applications.
What are focus groups? How are they distinct from ordinary group discussions and what use are they anyway? This article introduces focus group methodology, explores ways of conducting such groups and examines what this technique of data collection can offer researchers in general and medical sociologists in particular. It concentrates on the one feature which inevitably distinguishes focus groups from one-to-one interviews or questionnaires – namely the interaction between research participants - and argues for the overt exploration and exploitation of such interaction in the research process.
The sustainability of the indigenous dugong ( Dugong dugon) fishery in Torres Strait is evaluated on the basis of aerial survey estimates of the size of the regional dugong population in 1987 and 1991 and a survey of catches of dugongs taken by local communities between 1991 and 1993. The estimate of the dugong population in the Torres Strait region in November-December 1991 was 24,225 (± SE 3,276) compared with the corresponding estimate of 13,319 (± SE 2,136) for November 1987. The difference between the two estimates cannot be explained by natural increase of the population or variations in the sighting conditions encountered during the two aerial surveys. We believe this difference is due to a major redistribution of du-gongs within the survey region or migration into Torres Strait, probably from Irian Jaya (Indonesia). Dugongs are a major component of the traditional fishery in Torres Strait. The biomass of dugongs landed between June 1991 and May 1993 was higher than the weight of any other component of the traditional catch. The estimated annual dugong catch of 1226 (± SE 204) was higher than previous catch estimates. It is impossible to verify the sustainability of this harvest without an understanding of the movements of the dugong population, better absolute estimates of dugong population size, dugong catch statistics for Papua New Guinea and adjacent regions in Australia, and current estimates of life history parameters for dugongs in Torres Strait, all of which will be difficult to obtain. The mean estimate of the annual dugong catch in Torres Strait for 1991–1993, however, is approximately 5% of the mean estimate of the dugong population size in 1991. This is too close to the estimated maximum rate of increase of the dugong population to be sustainable if the estimate of dugong numbers is close to an absolute estimate or if there is substantial emigration of dugongs from the area. Co-management arrangements must be developed between the government agencies responsible for the dugong fishery and the Torres Strait Islanders in order to develop management strategies that will provide for the Islander’s traditional hunting expectations and maintain dugong numbers. Es Sostenible la Caza Actual de Dugones en el Estrecho de Torres La posibilidad de sostener la caza artesanal en el Estrecho de Torres es evaluado sobre la base de conteos aereos del número de la población de dugones ( Dugong dugon) en esta región en 1987 y 1991, y una encuesta de los dugones cazados por la comunidad local entre 1991 y 1993. La población estimada de dugones en la región del Estrecho de Torres durante el perìodo noviembre-diciembre 1991 fue de 24,225 (± SE 3,276) animales, comparada con la población correspondiente estimada en noviembre de 1987, la cual fue de 13,319 (± SE 2,136) animales. La diferencia entre los dos estimados no puede explicarse como un aumento natural de población o variaciones en visibilidad encontradas durante los dos conteos aereos. Creemos que esta diferencia se debe mas bien a un gran cambio en la distribución de dugones en el área estudiada o a una migración de animales al Estrecho de Torres, probablemente desde Irian Jaya. El dugón es todavía un componente importante de la caza artesanal en el Estrecho de Torres. El peso húmedo de los dugones cazados entre junio 1991 y mayo 1993 fue superior a cualquier otro componente de la pesca artesanal. El estimado caza anual de du-gones de 1,226 (± SE 204) fue superior a cualquier estimado anterior. Es imposible verificar si la caza tradicional de dugones es sostenible sin antes conocer los movimientos de la población, mejores estimados absolutos de la población de dugones y la estadìstica de la caza para Papua Nueva Guinea y regiones ayacentes en Australia, y los parámetros de ciclo de vida de los dugones en el Estrecho de Torres, ninguno de los cuales es fácil de obtener. Sin embargo, el estimado medio de la caza anual de dugones en el Estrecho de Torres durante el período de 1991-93 es aproximadamente 5% del estimado medio de la población en 1991. Esta cifra está demasidada cerca a la taza máxima de incremento estimada de la población de dugones para ser sostenible si es que los esimados poblacionales están en realidad cerca a un estimado absoluto, o si existe una migración apreciable de dugones fuera del area. Hay que desarrolar arreglos de colaboración entre las entidades del gobierno responsables para la caza de los dugones y los isleños del Estrecho de Torres con el fin de desarrolar estratégias administrativas que tomarán en cuenta las expectativas de caza tradicional de los isleños y al mismo tiempo mantener la población de dugones.
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