Egypt Independent September 28, 2020

The Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA) has reported the discovery of a dead dugong, a rare and endangered marine animal, at the beach on the Red Sea city of Marsa Alam.

The animal was three meters long, 90 centimeters wide, and a male. It died after suffering a laceration to its head from a boat propeller, and its remains will be buried.

The Scientific Advisor to the HEPCA, Mahmoud Hanafy, said that the dugong is a vital part of Egypt’s tourism industry with people coming from all over the world to see them.

Hanafy, who is also a professor of Marine Sciences at the University of the Suez Canal, warned that the dugong population is highly vulnerable. He stressed that the HEPCA will cooperate with local authorities to push for stricter boating regulations, such as placing nets on propellers.

The dugong lives primarily on seaweed. It is threatened with extinction in places where coastal development and industrial activity pollute its shallow water habitat.

Marsa Alam is home to a small dugong population, and the city has many tourism companies that take tourists to watch and swim with the creatures.

Marsa Alam’s Dugongs

Al-Masry Al-Youm September 16, 2019

Environmental researcher Ahmed Shawky warned against the negative impact of tourism on Dugongs in the Red Sea’s Gulf of Abu Dabab, Marsa Alam, and several other areas in the region, as they are considered to be one of the most important marine animals attracting tourists.

Shawky told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the Dugong is an aquatic mammal that breathes air and is at risk of extinction. Their numbers are very small in the Egyptian Red Sea coast, and Marsa Alam is one of the few areas they are scattered in, where each spot is typically characterized by the presence of a single Dugong.

Marsa Alam has many tourist boats, which take down tourists to watch these rare mammals and swim with them. He urged tourism companies and diving guides to focus on environmental awareness towards tourists, especially regarding the dangers rubber boats and speeding ones pose to Dugongs.

According to Dugongs are the only known herbivorous marine mammal and are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as being vulnerable to extinction due to human activities and hunting. This creature can support a weight of 400kg, reach lengths of up to five meters, and live for up to 70 years. Coloration in mature Dugongs can be seen as a light brown, whereas calves are found to be more of a pale shade.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm