Populations exist around the Solomon Islands archipelago and New Caledonia , stretching to an easternmost population in Vanuatu. Indonesia lists dugongs as a protected species,  however protection is not always enforced and souvenir products made from dugong parts can be openly found in markets in Bali. Seaweed could conceivable masquerade as hair. Most issues with industrial fishing occur in deeper waters where dugong populations are low, with local fishing being the main risk in shallower waters. In areas of Thailand it is believed that the dugong's tears form a powerful love potion, while in parts of Indonesia they are considered reincarnations of women. Some of these sailors apparently conflated their desires for food and for intimacy, seeing both possibilities in the Rubenesque manatee. Daily movement is affected by the tides.
Indonesia lists dugongs as a protected species,  however protection is not always enforced and souvenir products made from dugong parts can be openly found in markets in Bali. All the islands of the Philippines are believed to have once provided habitats for dugongs, which were common until the s. The dugong's tail flukes  and flippers  are similar to those of dolphins. Body parts are used as food, medicine, and decorations. Mozambique has had legislation to protect dugongs since , but this has not been effectively enforced. However, manatees and dugongs often sit vertically in the water to hold their young, which suckle the pectoral mammary glands located at the base of each flipper. The eastern side of the Red Sea is home to large populations numbering in the hundreds, and similar populations are thought to exist on the western side. Dugong ribs were used to make carvings in Japan. Dugong meat and oil have traditionally been some of the most valuable foods of Australian aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. Most measures for protection involve restricting activities such as trawling in areas containing seagrass meadows, with little to no action on pollutants originating from land. The nostrils are located on top of the head and can be closed using valves. When a manatee feeds, it will sometimes bob on the surface, using its flippers to grasp the vegetation and bring it toward its mouth. Australia has two distinct maternal lineages, one of which also contains the dugongs from Africa and Arabia. Our Vanishing Mermaids ", provides the following reasoning on his website for the association of the sea cow with the mermaid legend: This population possibly shared ancestry with the Red Sea population, and the Mediterranean population had never been large due to geographical factors and climate changes. Ecotourism has increased in some countries, although effects remain undocumented. In Papua New Guinea they are seen as a symbol of strength. The Persian Gulf has the second-largest dugong population in the world, inhabiting most of the southern coast,  and the current population is believed to number c. They also have a strong tactile sense , and feel their surroundings with their long sensitive bristles. Seagrasses of a lower seral are preferred, where the area has not fully vegetated. In Homer's Odyssey, Sirens were half-woman, half-bird creatures that tried to lure Odysseus and his ship onto their island with sweet songs of love. A highly isolated population lives around the islands of Palau. The waters around Borneo support a small population, with more scattered throughout the Malay archipelago. Research on dugongs and the effects of human activity on them has been limited, mostly taking place in Australia. When eating they ingest the whole plant, including the roots,  although when this is impossible they will feed on just the leaves.
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