Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reef dugong numbers hit 20-year low

A researcher in north Queensland says the number of dugongs on the Great Barrier Reef is at its lowest level in 20 years.

Professor Helene Marsh says last year's cyclones and flooding damaged much of the dugong's habitat on the reef.

She says latest observations shows the mammals have migrated north to waters off Cape York.

"I think that obviously some animals died - there were record numbers of animals found dead last year, but I actually think that a lot of animals have probably left the area for greener pastures," she said.

Professor Marsh says commercial development is the dugongs' greatest threat.

"Habitats in a pretty bad state after the cyclones and floods last year and is threatened by port development," she said. Read More