Ước tính kinh phí thực hiện cho hành động trên là 4,7 tỷ, trong đó: 1,2 tỷ đồng từ nguồn của Dự án điểm trình diễn san hô và cỏ biển do UNEP (Chương trình bảo vệ môi trường Liên Hiệp Quốc) tài trợ; 1,5 tỷ đồng huy động từ các doanh nghiệp khai thác du lịch; 0,9 tỷ đồng từ WWF; phần còn từ ngân sách tỉnh và các cơ quan liên quan./.
DUGONG - THE MERMAID - S.O.S. FROM OCEAN
Nguyen Xuan Niem, Ph.D.
(Vice Director, the Department of Science and Technology
of Kien Giang Province)
(Former Coordinator of project conserving coral reefs and seagrass beds)
According to folk legend, in nights with the moon young sailors far from their families were often attracted by charming singing of the the mermaid - Dugong.
According to assessing from scientists that the number of Dugong in all over the world is approximately 100,000 individuals only. In Viet Nam it was only discovered on Con Dao (Poulo Condor) approximately 10 individuals and in Phu Quoc approximately 100 individuals. Consequently, Dugong was classified “extremely endangered” CR with extinction danger.
Some traits of Dugong
Dugong, according to Indian, that means “beautiful girl”, while according to Papua New Guinean that means “sea cow” or according to Madagascan that means “coral reef wild pig”, while in Viet Nam known with the name Bo Bien because they usually ruminate seagrass or Ca Cui because when feeding their head always move ahead the bottom.
Among 25 marine animals in Viet Nam then Dugong was known the latest, in 2001 unintentionally Vo Si Tuan, Ph.D. (the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute) discovered in a survey on corals in Con Dao (Poulo Condor) (Fig. 1)
Dugongs belong to animal branch (Chordata). Sub-branch vertebrate (Vertebrata). Mammalian class (Mammalia). Dugong order (or Ca Cui) (Sirenia). Dugong family (Dugongidae). Dugong species (Dugong dugon) (Muller, 1776). Dugongidae remains only one species Dugong dugon usually met
Dugong usually lives single, or by pair (mother-offspring), very seldom met by small group or large group. Adult dugong can measure 3 m long, in average 2.4 to 2.7 m; weigh up to 500 kg, in average 250 to 400 kg; longevity up to 70 years, Dugong age are determined according to growth circles in tusks.
Eyes are at both head sides, poorly sighted, however thanks to cute smell inside narrow vocal threshold. Ears have no brims or ear lobes. Lips have feeling hair surrounding used to seek and capture seagrass. Every 1-2 minutes, dugong rise to the water surface for breathing once, then dive the longest 8.5 minutes. Two nostrils are located on head top and have a valve to close preventing water from getting in when diving.
Dugongs get pairing the first time from 6 to 17 years old, next pairing follow after 2.5 to 5 years. They bear 13 months 10 days. Each litter has one offspring. Dugong offspring is of 1.2 m long, weigh approximately 30 kg, maternal breast feed approximately 18 months, and usually swims behind the mother back.
Dugongs mainly eat seagrass, they prefer seagrass families Halophila and Halodule, because of having less fiber, high protein content, and easy to digest, sometimes they also eat species with larger sizes such as Thalassia hemprichii (dugong seagrass), Cymodocea serrulata (serratedseagrass). When eating, they used to dig and to push, this is the indication showing the survival of dugong in the region (Fig. 2). Because the nutrient content of seagrass was low, thus they spend all the time eating, each dugong eats approximately 25 kg seagrass daily.
S.O.S. from dugong!
Threats on dugong increase more and more because increasing the pollution from inland, developing urban suburbs degraded seagrass beds, the unique feed of dugong; or the circulation of ships impacted; caught by netting unintentionally; or intentionally shot for food; or taken parts as souvenirs, curing, a pair of tusks priced 10 million VND; “rifle” of male dugong used as Viagra drug;…
In nature, dugong has some enemies such as shark, crocodile… however; its first rank enemy is humans. According to surveying data of Kien Giang Fisheries Department, it reckoned in average from July 2002 to date there was 20 dugong individuals killed, particularly from September to November 2002 up to 9 individuals killed unintentionally or intentionally. Dugong killers were well known in Phu Quoc such as 6 Khau, 4 Diep, 4 Bach, 3 Cu, not work anymore but deguised killers are still present somewhere.
Following the program supporting studying the dugong conservation by WWF financially assisted to Kien Giang (from July 2002), then the PC of Kien Giang has also the Instruction No 20/2002/CT-UB dated November 21, 2002 concerning "Closely manage and strictly deal with cases killing sea turtle, dugong and dolphin illegally in Kien Giang territories". However, killing dugong still continues occurring, on December 23, 2003 a dugong caught dead in Ganh Dau has length 2.75 m, width 1.20 m, diameter 80 cm, weight 400 kg, being exhibited in the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute (Fig. 3). In 2004: two individuals slaughtered in the Ha Tien market, another caught in Ham Ninh, the other one dead in Hon Nan near Cambodia border. The latest is on January 18, 2005 one slaughtered in Ha Tien (Fig. 4).
The action plan
In order to put an end to catching dugong, to create favorable environment for restoring dugong population and to use them for sustainable tourist development, the WWF has planned cooperating with functional and technical agencies of the province the implementing action plans as follows:
- Couple projects conserving endangered animal species, in which there is dugong with managing marine resources and environment with the participation of relevant branches and of the community, simultaneously cooperate bourdary waters between Viet Nam and Cambodia.
- Construct communication, launch propaganda operation enhancing the community aware in all the society and enhance managing capacity of functional agencies in forcing laws in conserving marine ecosystems and endangered animal dugong, a resource that the nature favors for Kien Giang.
- Put the content of studying dugong and relevant ecosystems in programs scientifically surveying, studying annually in provincial territories.
- Establish the observation system with the participation of local people in order to construct database for common use in managing dugong conservation.
- Encourage constructing model of endangered animal conservation combined with sustainable marine ecotourist in some areas with dugong continuously appear.
Estimated budget for implementing the above actions is 4.7 billion VND, in which 1.2 billiard originating from the Project demonstration for coral reefs and seagrass beds by UNEP (United Nations Environment Protection Fund); 1.5 billiards mobilizing from enterprises exploiting tourist, 0.9 billiards from WWF; the remainder from provincial budget and relevant agencies./.