On Tuesday morning Year 3 and 5 were treated to an interactive presentation by Doctor Christopher Warren, the lead from ExxonMobile Research Qatar. The presentation was all about special animals called dugongs in Qatar. If you are unsure of what a dugong looks like then here is a picture:
Dugongs are large, long-living herbivorous marine mammals that consume sea grasses. They can reach lengths of greater than 3 meters, weigh more than 400 kilograms and live up to 70 years. Historically, dugongs have had a cultural and economic importance to Qatar. They have had a presence in the Arabian Gulf for more than 7,500 years.
During the presentation, Dr. Warren went into great detail about the characteristics of the habitats that are important to dugong survival, which include: extensive sea grass meadows and warm, shallow waters.
Qatar is home to the largest population of dugongs outside of Australia with two of the three most important regions in the Arabian Gulf. Dugongs are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Currently, dugongs in Qatar face challenges including incidental fishing and habitat degradation. The extreme marine and physical environment can also be difficult for them.