Where to Spot Dugongs in Palawan
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Palawan, known for its stunning natural landscapes, is home to the largest population of dugongs in the Philippines.
This magnificent marine mammal, also known as a sea cow, thrives in the coastal waters surrounding the province. The pristine habitats and abundant seagrass meadows in Palawan provide an ideal environment for these gentle giants to feed and thrive. As a result, Palawan has become a significant hotspot for dugong sightings, attracting nature enthusiasts and researchers who are fascinated by these remarkable creatures.
The conservation efforts in Palawan aim to protect and preserve the dugongs and their critical habitat, ensuring the continued survival of this iconic species in the region.
Visitors to Palawan can increase their chances of seeing these magnificent creatures by visiting the following locations:
Facts About Dugongs
Busuanga Island, Coron
The “Dugong Watching” program is an eco-tourism excursion that takes a full day to explore various feeding areas along the Busuanga coastline and two islands for skin and scuba divers.
Visitors are able to watch dugongs surface every 4 to 5 minutes from the boat and snorkel or scuba dive closer if the animal is not alarmed.
Divers can also enjoy two dives on a small coral garden and sea grass bed. Prior to the trip, a briefing is given about the dugong and how to approach them. The program boasts an 80%+ success rate of dugong sightings due to the keen-eyed crew.
Over the years, the program has partnered with international documentary crews, photographers, conservationists, and biologists to raise awareness about the endangered species.
This excursion is organised by Dugong Dive Center located in El Rio y Mar Resort.
Malampaya Sound, Taytay
Malampaya Sound serves as a sanctuary for various rare and endangered wildlife species. It boasts one of the largest undisturbed mangrove forest areas in the Philippines and provides a vital habitat for dugongs, which are considered both endemic and threatened.
The Municipal Tourism Office of Taytay is preparing to introduce a tour in Malampaya Sound.
Although there is no guarantee of seeing dugongs, visitors can take a boat ride through the nearby mangrove forests and keep a lookout for Irrawaddy dolphins.
In addition to Irrawaddy dolphins, the 22,000-hectare protected body of water, located between the municipalities of Taytay and San Vicente, is renowned for its diverse ecosystem, with a variety of marine and terrestrial species including sea turtles, various fish species, and dugongs.
El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area
The El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTMRPA) in Palawan, Philippines, covers a vast expanse of 90,312 hectares, consisting of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. It encompasses diverse habitats, including forests, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs. The area is renowned for its rich biodiversity, with 16 bird species endemic to Palawan and six large terrestrial mammal species.
The ENTMRPA serves as a sanctuary for various marine creatures, including marine turtles, dolphins, and the elusive dugong. These gentle giants can be observed in the waters of El Nido, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and tourists. Bacuit Bay, a marine reserve within the protected area, offers breathtaking limestone cliffs, pristine beaches, and thriving mangroves, supporting a vibrant ecosystem of colorful reef fish species.
Efforts have been made to preserve the ENTMRPA’s natural beauty and ensure sustainable livelihoods for local communities through government and non-government initiatives.