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  New Straits Times 25 Jan 07
Dead dugong causes stir in Langkawi

LANGKAWI: The discovery of a dead dugong on the coast of Pulau Tuba, near here, is causing a stir not only among the locals but also in the research community.

After years of failing to get a single sighting of the animal, yesterday’s discovery at least confirmed that there were dugongs in the waters here.

A fisherman found the carcass floating in the mangrove swamp of Lubok Cempedak in Pulau Tuba, a small populated island off Kuah town here in the morning. The 100kg carcass, which had shallow scratches on its body, was taken by boat to Kuah where it was later stored at the Langkawi Underwater World. The animal, measuring 190cm, was still bleeding from its mouth when it was found.

Langkawi fisheries head Badeli Hassan said a post-mortem would be conducted by an expert from the Turtle and Marine Eco-system Centre in Rantau Abang, Dungun.

Meanwhile, islander Mohd Ratu Mansur, 30, who helped retrieve the carcass, said the locals here initially thought the animal was a seal. "We didn’t know it was a dugong as we’ve never seen one before.

Then I remembered watching a programme about the dugong which was found in Johor. "Maybe it got lost here as I’ve never heard local folk talking about any dugong sightings before," he said.

New Straits Times 26 Jan 07
Many theories to dugong find

LANGKAWI: Is the dugong making a comeback in Langkawi waters after an absence of more than a decade? Some wildlife officials think so following the discovery of a dead dugong in Pulau Tuba on Wednesday.

One of them is Langkawi’s Fisheries Department head, Badeli Hassan. "One has surfaced in Langkawi although it didn’t survive. However, I believe the mammal is making a comeback in our waters," he said yesterday.

He said dugongs had disappeared from Langkawi waters for more than 10 years. "Over the past few years, our research has shown that Langkawi waters are now rich again with certain types of algae that are favoured by dugongs."

Badeli said more research needed to be carried out. "It could have travelled very far to reach the bountiful algae here. I’m sure there would be more sightings in Langkawi waters soon," he said. Other theories on the dead dugong included the possibility that it was caught and abandoned on the beach after it got ill. Another was that it could have lost its way and ended in Langkawi waters.

Badeli said a team from the Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre in Rantau Abang, Terengganu, would arrive today to perfom an autopsy. The dugong, found floating in the mangrove swamp of Lubok Cempedak, had scratches on its body.

New Straits Times 27 Jan 07
Dead dugong headed for Terengganu

ALOR STAR: The dead dugong found in Langkawi recently will be sent to Terengganu for research. Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre (Tumec) director Kamaruddin Ibrahim said a post-mortem would be conducted by a veterinarian to determine the cause of death.

He said his staff, who were sent to Langkawi, were making arrangements to transport the carcass by land back to the centre in Rantau Abang, Dungun.

Although there had been no record of dugong sightings in Langkawi, he said the animal could have been part of a small pack on its migration route to southern oceans.

Related articles on Global: marine issues and sea turtles
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