KOTA KINABALU: The public has been told not to disturb a dugong stranded in the shallow waters of a water village in Sandakan.
A team of experts from the Borneo Marine Research Institute, Universiti Malaysia Sabah are headed to the village while state wildlife rangers ensure the safety of the dugong, an endangered species, after it was spotted by residents of the Sim Sim water village in Sandakan on Sabah's east coast at about 8.30am Friday.
Sandakan wildlife officer Hussein Muin urged the people not to disturb the animal pending the arrival of marine experts from Kota Kinabalu.
He said the dugong is listed as a protected species under the Conservation of Wildlife Enactment 1997, which makes it an offence to harm it.
"I hope everyone helps our conservation efforts," he said.
He said the team is expected to study the mammal, also known as a sea cow.
Residents of Kg Sim Sim say dugong sightings in their area are rare, and believe that this could be the first time the mammal turned up in the village.