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New book inspires children to protect dugongs
Date:7/11/2012

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"By explaining that dugongs, like Dhyum himself, which was satellite-tagged in 2010, to inform rangers and scientists how and where they move, I wanted to demonstrate the various ways dugongs can be studied.

"The story includes information on how dugongs move from Torres Strait to Papua New Guinea, so now communities in both countries are working together to help protect them".

"One of the main reasons I wrote the book was to help children and the general public appreciate how we can use science to look after endangered animals," Dr Fuentes says.

Apart from being distributed to schools across the Torres Strait, the book will also be used by Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) rangers as part of their environmental education program.

"Dugongs have great cultural and social importance to Australia's Indigenous peoples living near the Great Barrier Reef and in Torres Strait," says Dr Fuentes. "It is vital that the coming generation realises how a loss in dugong numbers could spell problems for both marine ecosystems and for Indigenous communities."

The TSRA chairperson, Mr Toshie Kris, says the book is a great example of collaboration between Torres Strait Islanders and the scientific community.

"To have scientists and TSRA staff working together on communication products that benefit the broader Torres Strait Islander community is tremendous," Mr Kris says. "Dugong conservation is a vital issue for Torres Strait Islanders and Dr Fuentes's book will help children understand the importance of looking after these endangered mammals".

"This book will be valuable for our Land and Sea Rangers as they work with communities to protect and conserve dugongs."

'Dhyum the dugong' will be launched during the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns Convention Centre, Room MR5, on Wednesday, 11 July 2012, at 1.00pm. Media are welcome to attend.

After the launch, softcopies of the book can be downloaded for free from the ARC
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Contact: Mariana Fuentes
Mariana.Fuentes@jcu.edu.au
61-041-164-5986
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Source:Eurekalert

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