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Jakarta Post

The tears of a dugong

  • Deanna Ramsay

    The Jakarta Post

FAKFAK, WEST PAPUA   /   Tue, December 4 2012   /  11:12 am

Beached: Maya, a 22-year-old dugong, lives off the coast of Kiat in Fakfak, West Papua. The rare mammal is a tourist attraction of the village. There is little thrashing or writhing; in fact the animal moves very little as it is lifted from its ocean home on a makeshift stretcher and set gently on the beach.

Hands were quickly placed on the body in a form of caress, and but for a few wheezes and blinking the creature did not move a muscle as it lay on the sand in the shade of a palm tree.

“Her name is Maya and she is 22 years old,” said Saban, one of the men gathered round the pinkish-brown mammal as she lay beached, as it were, on Kiat village’s tiny strip of sand in Fakfak, West Papua.

Maya is a dugong (Dugong dugon), a rare sea creature similar to a manatee that lives in the warm coastal waters of Southeast Asia and Australia, and off East Africa and in the ...