KOTA KINABALU: A dugong stranded in shallow waters off Sandakan appears to be healthy and is attracted to the Sim Sim water village for food.
The adult animal was seen nibbling moss growing on the posts of the houses in the village.
Sabah Wildlife Department ranger Awang Basah who has been monitoring the dugong said the animal had been elusive and was occasionally spotted around the village over the past three days.
“It would come close to shore during the high tide and go out to sea when the low tide comes,” he said.
He said the Wildlife Department had been reminding villagers there against throwing any type of food to the dugong as this could harm the animal.
Awang said that although dugongs have been spotted in the Sulu Sea off Sandakan, it is unusual for one to come so close to shore.
Villagers first spotted the dugong at about 8.30am on Friday.
Since then, the Wildlife Department had dispatched its rangers to monitor the animal while awaiting the arrival of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Borneo Marine Research Institute experts.
The dugong is protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Enactment 1997.