Nature conservation

Threatened species

Dugong - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Dugong dugon
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 24 May 2002
Profile last updated: 21 Jan 2019


The only Sirenian occuring in Australian waters, dugongs have a fusiform shape, a whale like tail and paddle-shaped flippers. They grow up to 3 m in length, with adults grey in colour, lighter ventrally, but may appear brown from the air. There is no dorsal fin. The head is distictive with the mouth opening ventrally beneath the broad flat muzzle. Eyes are small and not prominent. Mature males and some old females may have tusks on either side of the head. Hind limbs are absent.


Extends south from warmer coastal and island waters of the Indo-West Pacific to northern NSW, where its known from incidental records only.

Habitat and ecology

  • Major concentrations of Dugongs occur in wide shallow protected bays, wide shallow mangrove channels and in the lee of large inshore islands.
  • Will also occupy deeper waters if their sea grass food is available.
  • Have a low reproductive rate.
  • Shallow waters such as tidal sandbanks and estuaries have been reported as sites for calving.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region