Abstract: We developed a method to rapidly and safely live capture wild dugongs based on the "rodeo method" employed to catch marine turtles. This method entails close pursuit of a dugong by boat until it is fatigued. The dugong is then caught around the peduncle region by a catcher leaping off the boat, and the dugong is restrained at the water surface by several people while data are collected. Our sampling protocol involves a short restraint time, typically < 5 min. No ropes or nets were attached to the dugong to avoid the risk of entanglement and subsequent drowning. This method is suitable for shallow, open-water captures when weather and water conditions are fair, and may be adapted for deeper waters.
Key Words: Dugong, Dugong dugon, capture technique, tagging, mark-recapture, wild population, marine mammal, Moreton Bay, Australia
Document Type: Research article
Page Numbers: 196-201