Dugong grazing on sea grass


Dugongs are believed to have been the basis of mermaid legends when glimpsed swimming in the water from a distance. They could hardly be described as beautiful but they do have a certain grace underwater. The world's largest population of dugongs - over 10,000 animals - feed year-round in Shark Bay, the southern limit of their range.

Scientific name: Dugong dugon

Rank: Species

Watch video clips from past programmes (3 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


The Dugong can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Great Barrier Reef. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Dugong distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Shallow seas Shallow seas
Shallow seas cover the continental shelves. These sunlit, or neritic, waters are where the oceans are most productive, where biomass is highest and where all the major sea fisheries of the world take their catches.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status


  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Unknown

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1