Qatar holds the second largest population of the Dugong in the world.
Meet the Dugong, a medium-sized marine mammal, the only strictly herbivorous marine mammal. It is the living survivor of the once-diverse family Dugongidae, whose closest modern relative the Steller’s sea cow, was hunted to extinction in the 18th century.
Being largely dependant on seagrass, the Dugong spans the waters throughout the Indo-West Pacific, covering the water area of an estimated 40 countries. Because of their eating habits, they remain close to coastal and shallow waters, typically in wide, shallow, protected areas such as bays, mangrove channels, the waters of large inshore islands and inter-reefal waters.
The Dugong has been hunted for millennia for their meat and oil, and are still being hunted as part of cultural heritage in many countries today. Even though many countries have laws, making it illegal to harm them in any way,their population remain in decline.
With a lifespan of only 70 years and slow reproduction rates, the Dugong remain endangered.
Since Qatar is home to the second largest community of Dugongs after Australia, the nation has taken up the mission to provide a safe haven for these beautiful creatures to live in. in 2008 the Council for Environment and Natural REserves in Qatar started conducting studies in collaboration with the Emiri Air Force, and that was the starting point to the preservation of these friendly giants.