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UN urges immediate protection for Okinawa dugong population

Date Posted: 2002-02-21

The United Nations Environment Program on Feb. 13 released a report that demanded immediate steps be taken for the protection of dugongs since their numbers are rapidly decreasing around the world. The report issued a warning to Japan in particular as the mammals living near Okinawa could face extinction unless proper measures are quickly taken. The report warns that a small number of isolated groups of dugongs have been observed for over 30 years in the waters surrounding Okinawa despite the fact that various factors such as fishermen inadvertently netting dugongs, seacoast development, fish farming and destruction of their feeding areas are threatening their habitat. It strongly urged that both Japan and Australia, the only developed counties hosting dugong habitats, establish protected areas.

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