Seasonal Distribution and Abundance of Dugongs in the Western-Gulf-of-Carpentaria
P Bayliss and WJ Freeland
Australian Wildlife Research
16(2) 141 - 149
Aerial surveys of coastal waters (27 216 km2) in the western Gulf of Carpentaria during the dry season of 1984 and wet season of 1985 indicated no major seasonal changes in distribution and relative abundance of dugongs. Minimum population size in the dry season was estimated as 16 816 ± 2946 (standard error), with a relative density of 0.62 k 0.11 km-2, and that for the wet season 16 846 + 3257, with a relative density of 0.62 ± 0.12 km-2. The estimates exclude 5% of observations which could have been either dugongs or Irrawaddy dolphins, and were corrected for submerged dugongs and those missed on the surface. Dugongs were unevenly distributed over the study area, and neither mean group size nor proportion of calves varied between seasons. Dugong abundance was correlated with area of available seagrass. The catch rate of dugongs by Aboriginal people off Numbulwar decreased six-fold between the 1960s and 1985 (60 to 10 p.a.), possibly due to excessive hunting.
Full text doi:10.1071/WR9890141
© CSIRO 1989