Learn about our Dugongs...
Did you know
This big, gentle mammalian herbivore may not at first glance look much like the mermaids you might have read about in myths and legends. It's thought that the legend of dugongs belonging to the Sirenia (the Greek word for mermaid) originated from delirious sailors who mistook the animals for seductive fishy-tailed females after too long out on the ocean. The common name, dugong, comes from a Malay word meaning 'lady of the sea'. In fact, dugongs are most closely related not to any other sea creature, but to elephants.
Affectionately named after his eating habits, Pig was rescued from Forrest Beach in North Queensland when he became separated from his mother at a very early age. After a period of rehabilitation, Pig was released into the wild. However when he was found washed up again a decision was made not to release him again for fears he wouldn't survive.
Wuru was also orphaned early and although she is much younger than Pig, at over 400kg she is actually heavier than Pig! It is normal for female dugongs to be larger than their male counterparts and they can weigh up to 600kg!
Both of our dugongs were orphaned in the wild in Queensland and were raised from calves to youngsters at Sea World on the Gold Coast. They have been living here at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium since late 2008 and, like all dugongs, Pig and Wuru need a lot of looking after. They are social, friendly animals who not only need to be fed a lot but also enjoy playing games and having their backs scratched.
Pig and Wuru are BIG eaters and feed almost constantly from 7:30am to 7:00pm every day. In the wild, dugongs eat massive amounts of seagrass, and the closest match to that at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is cos lettuce. Pig and Wuru adore cos lettuce and eat about 80kg each every day. The cos is washed and threaded into specially weighted racks, which sit on the bottom of the dugongs' display in Dugong Island, enabling them to graze as they would in the wild.