Researchers visit for dugongs
THEY are often seen frolicking off the coast of Hervey Bay – and now a team of researchers are visiting to assess what impact the floods that hit the Fraser Coast region in January had on the local dugong population.
The team, which comes from the University of Queensland and Sea World, cruised the waters off Burrum Heads yesterday looking for dugongs after finding five to examine on their first day in Hervey Bay.
They are hoping to examine and perform blood tests on up to 20 dugongs in the Hervey Bay area.
Much of the sea grass, which is part of the dugong’s staple diet, has been covered over with mud since the flooding in January and the five dugongs assessed by the team so far have been described as “lean”.
But University of Queensland researcher Janet Lanyon said the team wasn’t reading too much into it until they had seen more dugongs from the area.
She said it was possible the dugongs that they had seen were young and had just finished weaning, which would account for their slight leanness.
The team visited Moreton Bay before coming to Hervey Bay and they were glad to find the dugongs in that area had coped well with the after-effects of the floods and seemed to be in good health.