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Keywords:

  • dugong;
  • Dugong dugon;
  • popularion assessment;
  • Thailand;
  • Andaman Sea

Abstract

In 2000 and 2001, dugong abundance was estimated using aerial surveys in three provinces along the Andaman coast of Thailand. A microlite aircraft was used to fly aerial transects over seagrass areas. All surveys were done during rising tides as the dugongs came to the seagrass beds to feed. The largest population was found in Trang province. In Trang, the total number of sightings during 22 surveys was 264, out of which 31.5% were single dugongs. The largest group seen in 2000 was 30, and in 2001, 53. The maximum number of calves seen in one day was 13. The best minimum estimate of population abundance is 123 animals (CV = 60.8%) in Trang province. Higher numbers of dugong sightings and group sizes corresponded with higher tides until water turbidity impeded sightings after the highest spring tide. In other areas the number of animals seen was too small for population estimates.