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Northernmost Dugong Population Threatened by US Military Base – September 7, 2017

Construction could push marine mammal towards extinction in Okinawa, say advocates

Masako Suzuki searched for signs of dugongs in the lines of missing seagrass in the Oura Bay in Henoko, Okinawa, until the barrier of orange buoys went up, preventing her from doing that.  Dugongs — rare, gentle marine mammals that are close relatives of the manatee — eat in a vacuum-like manner, slurping seagrass from the ocean floor. In a process that Suzuki calls “line research,” divers examine the shallow seagrass beds and trace the dugongs’ eating patterns with a long rope.

photo of dugongPhoto by Julien Willem Advocates suspect only a few dugongs still live in Okinawa. Construction of a new… more

by: Leah Carter

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