Halting the decline in dugong numbers
DUGONG PROTECTORS: Kenton Campbell, Ecoforce Founder, Ewen Jones, MP and Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action and Environment at The Strand DUGONGS can grow to three metres long and weigh 400 kilograms but surprisingly, the distinctive animal may soon be hard to spot.
Ecoforce founder, Kenton Campbell, is behind a push to stop their dwindling numbers from dropping further and has just documented research from indigenous communities e x p l a i ni ng t he reason for the species’ decline.
The data also included information on declining turtle numbers and was yesterday presented to Climate Action and Environment shadow mi n i s t e r G r e g H u n t i n Townsville.
Mr Campbell said the findings had given researchers a wealth of information into the issue of a moratorium on dugong and turtle hunting.
‘‘ Conversations were held with council mayors and concerned tribal elders on issues that would affect their culture if a proposed moratorium was placed on the hunting of dugongs and turtles for traditional needs.
‘‘ The idea that indigenous people in North Queensland were illegally hunting, killing and selling dugong and turtle meat for profit were put t o many i ndigenous leaders and without exception all agreed that strong p u n i s h m e n t s h o u l d b e measured out to those caught in the practice of illegal meat trade.’’
Mr Hunt said the Coalition had written to Premier Bligh insisting that she refer the poaching and sale of animal meat to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.