Dugong carcass washed ashore on Sibu Island

MERSING: The carcass of a young male dugong (sea cow) was found washed up on Sibu Island after it got stuck in a fishing net.

Johor Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said that the mammal was discovered by children from a nearby village on Thursday.

He said that checks by the Johor Marine Park Department and MareCet Research Organisation revealed that the dugong had swelling on its body and around its mouth believed to have been caused by the net.

"The carcass of the dugong, which was not fully grown and weighed about 100kg, has been buried at Pulau Tinggi.

"We are truly saddened by this, it was the second case of a dead dugong found this year," he said in a statement here on Friday.

Ayub said that such incidents could affect the state government's plans to set up a dugong sanctuary in Johor.

"I have directed all relevant agencies to speed up the gazetting process and carried out the necessary enforcement to curb the issue.

"We have allocated RM1mil for the preservation of the dugong species in the state," he said adding that the waters off Pulau Besar, Pulau Rawa and Pulau Sibu, covering 150,000ha, have been proposed to be gazetted for the initiative.

He added that the area with ample seagrass - the staple food for dugongs - would become a habitat for at least 100 of the species.

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