“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” - Gary Snyder
As the discussions are carried out on the ongoing pandemic and status of lockdown across
the globe, the home of a very well-known marine mammal is being contaminated and
disrupted as we speak. There is one threatened endangered species out there, silently
grazing the seagrass meadows. Yes, we are talking about Dugong dugon i.e. dugongs, also
largely known as “sea cows.”
These medium-sized marine mammal herbivores play a vital role in battling climate
change. Their day-to-day activities have an immediate effect on other aquatic beings which
ought to be appreciated as well as acknowledged. The seagrass meadows and oceans are
being adversely affected by increasing human activities and industrial pollutants. The
population depletion of dugongs is escalating at a rate never expected before, as proposed
by researchers in the field based on a study done at Nelson Mandela University in South
Africa. One of the research techniques majorly used in the hindsight to study dugongs is
Phylogeography, a ‘field of study that attempts to tease apart relationships among
individual genotypes within a species or within a group of very closely related species and
correlate those relationships with their spatial distribution’ according to science direct.
One of the renowned researchers Dr. Stephanie Plön extensively emphasized the gene pool
depletion of dugongs due to their rapid decline.
The Time Is Ticking
The mighty ocean which is indeed glamourized by us is facing a tremendous amount of
pain because of overexploitation. Every oceanic cycle concerning aquatic life is also
directly affected leading to the extinction of species. Species that have no direct role to
play in a human’s day-to-day activity but are indirectly connected in ways that are
Our days are irreversible, so are our actions. As we read this, there is at least one dugong
being exploited for its meat and oil which is eventually marketed across the globe.
These magnificent creatures weighing over 800 pounds is 10 feet in length harmless
herbivores are still mowing the meadows in the ocean bed. Unaware of their threat to life,
silently grazing with every passing day.
With researchers still vigorously working on solutions to protect them in the future,
organizations and many wildlife enthusiasts have buckled up their saddles in order to
bring them back on the safer side of the IUCN list.
Let us move forward with such a renowned mindset, let us be the voices of the voiceless who are unable to stand up for themselves.
I do have hope. Nature is enormously resilient, humans are vastly intelligent, the energy and enthusiasm that can be kindled among young people seem without limit, and the human spirit is indomitable. But if we want life, we will have to stop depending on someone else to save the world. It is up to us-you and me, all of us. Myself, I have placed my faith in the children.”
- Jane Goodall