Dugongs' (Dugon Dugong) traditional values in Kenya; and their influence on their conservation.


  • Asma Hadi Awadh
  • Dr. Maarifa A. Mwakumanya
  • Dr. Mohamed Omar


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Dugongs, Kenya, traditions


Purpose: This study aimed to assess Dugongs' status distribution of dugongs (Dugong dugon) in Kenya. A dugong is a herbivorous marine mammal of the tropical and subtropical Indo-West Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Dugongs are one of four existing species of the order Sirenia, which is considered most at risk of extinction. Globally, IUCN classified the Dugong as rare; Kenya has done the same under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013, thus making Dugongs a conservation priority. This paper discusses the traditional practices of dugongs and how this influenced their population and conservation.

Methodology: The study used a literature review, semi-structured questionnaires, guided interviews, and focus group discussions with respondents on obtaining data.  

Findings: More than 100 dugongs occurred in the Kenyan waters in the 1960s; their population has declined drastically since then.  Dugongs were a sought-after delicacy on the Kenyan coast. Dugong meat was consumed for its taste and nutritional use. In the northern study areas, its oil was separated and used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes.

Unique contribution to theory, practice and policy: This study confirms fishing practices and traditional consumption practices on dugongs were seen to have led to their detriment. The study recommends rich continuous education and awareness efforts to change the thinking and practices of the people towards conservation of dugongs and the environment in general.


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Author Biographies

Asma Hadi Awadh


Post Graduate Student: School of Environment and Earth Sciences

 Pwani University


Dr. Maarifa A. Mwakumanya


Lecturer, School of Environment and Earth Sciences

Dr. Mohamed Omar


Scientist, Kenya Wildlife Service


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How to Cite

Awadh, A., Mwakumanya, M., & Omar, M. (2021). Dugongs’ (Dugon Dugong) traditional values in Kenya; and their influence on their conservation. American Journal of Environment Studies, 4(2), 1 - 13. https://doi.org/10.47672/ajes.759