With its fluked tail to propel its cumbersome body through the shallow water, its paddle-like flippers to steer her through the seagrass meadows. With elephants for cousins, the Dugongs snout points down and his hairy upper lip strips his beloved seagrass from the sea floor. The adult males and some females even have short tusks. They can be submerged for up to six minutes, before they need another breath of air. Ten percent of the worlds Dugongs live in the Indian Ocean waters off Shark Bay WA. A research team from Shark Bays Aboriginal community have unearthed much about this mysterious animals behaviour.
Dugongs can live on this earth for up to 70 years cruising the warm waters of Shark Bay. A pregnancy can last up to 14 months and they only have one calf every three to seven years. The calf can suckle from its mother for 18 months and it may hang from her apron stings for two years or more. They communicate with each other through chirps, squeaks and trills.
The Dugong is of course like many of our amazing sea creatures vulnerable to extinction. Their natural predators are Sharks and Orcas. However they are currently mostly threatened by pollution, coastal development, boat traffic, fishing nets and hunting. In Shark Bay their biggest threat is boat strike, they are very slow swimmers, and cannot swim away from danger fast enough.
The Dugong has a cultural significance to the aboriginal people. They have hunted them for food as part of their traditions for millions of years. However this curious creature also features in their stories.
A song tells a tale of how Brother Moon lived with his sister, the Dugong, in the plains around Arnhem Land in the Northern Territories of Australia. Dugong spent her days collecting lily bulbs and lotus roots for them to eat. She always complained of being bitten by leeches, until one day she could not take it any longer and came home to her brother declaring that she was giving up land life to enter the sea and become a gong.
‘I’ve had enough of these leeches, brother. I’m giving up land life to enter the sea and become a gong.’
‘What shall I do?’ asked Moon.
‘You can stay in the sky,’ said his sister, ‘but first you must die.’ Moon considered this. ‘I won’t die like other people though,’ he said. ‘I’ll always return to life again.’
‘Do as you like’ said Dugong, ‘but not me. When I die I won’t come back, and you can pick up my bones.’
‘I’m different,’ her brother told her, ‘when I die, I’m coming back. Each time I grow sick I’ll become very thin and follow you down to the sea, by then, only my bones will be left, so I’ll throw them away and die.’ Become pure spirit, he meant, ‘But after three days I’ll rise again and return to the sky.’
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This story and others like it show the incredible knowledge these people have of the universe and humans. They demonstrate how Australian Aboriginal people try to live in harmony with earth and its celestial beings, the moon and the sun.
This animal represents all the weird and wonderful creatures that can be found in our oceans. They put into perspective and remind us whom we share this earth with. We sometimes forget and think this life is just about us.
Photo Ref :http://divmir.ru/page/9
The Dugong represents, peace, gentility, a slower pace of life. I came across this message for me from a Dugong .
“I was asked to share the ancient knowledge within. I am to be gentle with myself and those around me. I must not allow a fast pace of life to infringe upon my own sense of balance. The hunters will always be a threat but I should trust that the universe shall provide.
I need to be peaceful”.
So perhaps this is the journey I am on now. I am almost there, today has been a struggle with tiredness clouding my mind.
The Dugong inspired me to carry on with my messages.