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Divers discover caged sea cows in Indonesia

04:03 PM March 16, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 3.16.10 PM

A pair of illegally captured Dugongs were found in Indonesia. Screen Grab from Delon Lim’s Facebook page

Two concerned divers have alerted authorities after finding a pair of sea cows tied and concealed inside a steel cage near the remote island of Kokoya in Indonesia.

Sea cows, also known as dugong, are rare marine animals being closely monitored by marine wildlife authorities due to their vulnerability to extinction. They are closely related to manatees.

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Citing a report from animal welfare website dodo.com, a diver named Delon Lim discovered what appeared to be a mother and her calf held in separate cages.

The younger dugong was kept without restraint, while the adult was bounded by a rope wrapped around her tail.

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Screen Grab from Delon Lim's Facebook account.

Screen Grab from Delon Lim’s Facebook account.

The rare animals were allegedly captured by a local fisherman who apparently wanted to profit from tourists at the animal’s expense.

“He asked for some money if we want to see the dugong or take a picture,” Lim said.

The Indonesian diver also pointed out the poor condition of the animals, which indicates that they may have been trapped for more than several weeks.

“The ropes were worn and torn and the scars and the wound on her tail are so deep,” said Lim.

“It was very heartbreaking,” he added.

The divers reluctantly agreed to pay the fisherman, who allowed them to enter the cages and take photos and videos of the creature’s ordeal.

Instagram user @rmahendradani shared the video on his page.

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Nemu makhluk malang ini saat surface interval di Pulau Kokoya (https://goo.gl/maps/vwuRhtXGL8q). Dugong ini ditangkap, diikat dan dikurung dengan makanan seadanya. Kondisi ekor yg diikat luka parah. kita sudah melakukan pendekatan ke nelayan agar dugong tangkapan ini dilepas dan dia sudah bersedia (walaupun kita sendiri ragu). Karena cuma sejam di pulau tsb, kita tdk tau dilepas beneran atau ngga. Sebenarnya dugong yg stress ini jika dilepas jg belum tentu bisa survive. Mengingat hewan ini tergolong terancam punah, jika ada yg punya kenalan di balai konservasi mungkin bisa dibantu forward dan ditangani. Dugongnya ada dua ekor, satu yg lebih kecil tidak terikat namun dikurung di jaring yg berbeda. Anyone, please help….

A video posted by Ryandito Mahendradani (@rmahendradani) on Mar 13, 2016 at 12:28am PST

Within hours of posting the pictures on social media, Lim was contacted by wildlife authorities requesting the location of the cages. The mother and child dugongs were finally freed after officials found them on the spot the following day.

Charges are now being filed against the animals’ unnamed captor.

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TAGS: Diver, Dugong, Indonesia
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