A dead dugong washed up on Archies Beach at Bargara this morning, apparently after an altercation with a shark.
According to the Department of Environment and Science, dugongs inhabit the Queensland coast in wide, shallow, protected bays and mangrove channels, and the inside edge of large inshore islands.
These areas coincide with significant seagrass beds. They also use deep-water habitats.
“Adult dugongs can reach lengths of more than three metres and weigh up to 420kg,” the DES website says.
“Dugongs are easily distinguished from dolphins because they have no dorsal fin and a very distinctive head with paired nostrils on the tip of the snout.
“Dugongs have relatively poor eyesight so rely on the sensitive bristles covering the upper lip of their large snouts to find and grasp seagrass.
“Cows and calves communicate by producing chirps.”
Dugongs may live for 70 years or more and are slow breeders. They feed exclusively on seagrass.
Earlier this year, Bundaberg Now featured a story on Dougie the dugong, who has been frequently seen around Barolin Rocks.
It's understood that DES has been contacted in relation to the dead animal.
In Australia, dugongs are protected under the Australian Government‘s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act.
The Department's website says dugongs are slow moving and have little protection against predators.
Being large animals, only large sharks, saltwater crocodiles and killer whales are a danger to them. Young dugongs hide behind their mothers when in danger.
They are also vulnerable to boat strike and incidental capture in commercial fishing nets.
Dugongs have important cultural and social values for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in coastal areas of northern Australia.