ARE DUGONGS EXTINCT ON MAURITIUS?
The dugong has long been suspected extinct from the Mascarene Islands, with the last written record in the late 18th century. However, given the illusive nature of the animal, its ability to travel hundreds of kilometres and its reappearance at Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles), this suspected extinction needs to be more thoroughly investigated.
C3 has been conducting research into literature including accounts from early European mariners to build a picture of the disappearance of this mammal which was once observed in herds of hundreds of individuals along the Mauritian coastline. Using methods developed by the C3-Comores programme, fishers will be interviewed to unearth local knowledge about this animal which may lead to a confirmation of its extinction... or a possible re-discovery! This study is particularly timely since a Regional Conservation Management Plan for the species was recently finalized at the end of 2007.