Why Dugongs Could Be Saying FML… And Why They’re Not

dugong fml infographicNowadays, it’s easy to feel down in the dumps about anything that happens. You wake up with horrible hair, traffic is terrible and you’re running late, it’s raining and you didn’t bring your umbrella, or you got into a silly argument with your mother.

It’s easy to feel like the stacks are up against you.

But believe me, they’re not! Before you tweet or post your latest “FML TODAY” status, here’s a bit of schadenfreude to put things into perspective. Because while you are trying to re-discover your will to keep on living, consider these top five facts about the dugong (sea cow) and why they should be the ones tweeting FML:

1) Identity crisis: They used to be mistaken for mermaids. When sailors got a closer look, they decided to eat the dugong instead.

Also, they look like dolphins and whales, but are actually more closely related to elephants. (IKR WTF)

2) Vegan and there are no veggies: Dugongs ONLY eat seagrass, and not all varieties. And as their luck would have it, seagrass cover worldwide is rapidly declining due to human pollution and climate change.

3) Forever alone: While dugongs used to congregate in herds, hunting and lack of seagrass means that they are often now solitary creatures.

4) Shrinking violets: Dugongs are shy creatures. Or they might be shy… We’re not sure because nobody ever took the time to really get to know them. Up until recently, most information about dugongs came from stories passed by word of mouth.

5) Slow to get jiggy: A third of  dugong populations  are declining or extinct. It takes a dugong a maximum of 15 YEARS before it can reproduce. When they are finally pregnant, it takes roughly 13 MONTHS before they can give birth to a SINGLE calf. And another 3-7 YEARS before they can reproduce again.

The truth of the matter is, Dugongs have a much better reason to say FML than you on the worst day of your entire life…

… So why aren’t they?

Well, aside from the fact that Dugongs can’t tweet (lack of opposable thumbs, just another thing to add to that growing list), dugongs have been declared as an endangered species. Much like other endangered species, Dugongs have been especially vulnerable lately due to hunting and other unsustainable human activities on their natural habitats.

However, unlike other endangered species, dugongs are affected not only by what happens to their habitats, but to nearby ecosystems as well. For example, logging and mining causes soil erosion, which causes siltation, which causes bad water quality for the seagrass. No seagrass, no sea cows.

And while repopulation is still a long-shot, we are now better equipped to help as we have a clearer idea on why their numbers are dwindling. There have been great efforts to map dugongs and their seagrass habitats all over the world. There’s still hope for dugongs, with a great number of them surviving in the waters surrounding Australia, and dedicated conservation efforts in sea cow-mmunities where their numbers run low.

So the next time you feel like breaking down and hiding under a rock, don’t FML! Remember the odds are not against you. Fortunately for you, the odds are against the dugong.

But, hopefully, not for long.

C3 works hard to protect dugongs in Palau, the ComorosMadagascar and the Philippines, collaborating closely with the Convention on Migratory Species and local partners.