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2 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections

Hunting the D ugong

If you have ever seen a dugong you will no think it strange that an ani mal so unusual should have such a strange name. To realise how quaint this creature really is, you want to see Mrs. Dugong and "Young Feller" Dugong wallowing in thé tropical shallows that line so many indenta ; tions of Australia's far away north

ern shores.

? The dugong is an animal that lives

in the sea, and is rightly nicknamed a "sea-cow" for Mrs. Dugong, weigh ing anything from 1000 to 14001b., comes into |he shallows to live on the roots of sea grass. And, like cattle, too, the dugongs, when not disturbed, live in mobs numbering anything up to 40. Altogether they are huge, mas sive animals--tiley are anything from 8 to 12 ft. fong-with crescent-shaped tail flappers and a large head, with two fearsome tusks, they look as com ical and as uninterested with life as a Pig

Although complete skeletons found at Botany Bay and at Fremantle tell us that tile dugong once lived on southern shores, today this strange "sea cow" is found only in tropical waters-and then rarely as abundant ly as he used to be, for the dugong much to his regret, if he knew it! is a valuable prize to man. Beacuse they yield oil from the internal fat, 2001b. of green hide and bones from the best charcoal for sugar refining is made, these animals are constantly

hunted.

Most white dugong hunters use 3ft. mesh coir nets, spread in the feeding grounds, but the coastal natives also extensively hunt the dugong. Each tribe has its own methods. On the east silie of the Cape York Peninsula the natives build crude stick platforms as lookouts on the shallow indenta tions of the bay. When they sight the dugongs they chase them out of the water, rendering them helpless. Other tribes chase them in bark can oes and spear them.

The blacks catch the dugong as

food, and if treated as pork it is quite i appetising. The blacks also greatly ! prize dugong oil as a cosmetic, and rub it freely on their faces and

bodies.

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