Authorities to designate protected areas for dugongs in Thailand

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Bangkok – The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) is to conduct a seagrass and sea-cow survey to designate protected areas, following a rapid decline in the number of the marine animals.

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DNP Director-General Thanya Netithammakul has reported to relevant agencies that while not yet critical, sea-cows in Thailand continue to be threatened by human activity. The mammal is hunted by groups who believe its bones can be brewed as elixirs and its teeth can be used as amulets.

The DNP is to conduct a three-month survey on the remaining population of sea-cows between Dec 2017 and Feb 2018 and has instructed authorities of Hat Chao Mai National Park to suppress sea-cow hunting.

Sea-cows are at the top of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) list, which prohibits the trading of wild sea-cows except for authorized research due to their endangered status. It is currently estimated that there are only 200 sea-cows still in Thai waters.