Air force called in to fly sick 'sea cow' to safety

Air force called in to fly sick 'sea cow' to safety

Merimbula's dugong being assessed by marine experts. Photo: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

An RAAF Hercules plane transported an unusual passenger on a special flight from NSW to Queensland - a 400kg dugong.

The 2.7m long `sea cow' was captured in Merimbula Lake on the south coast of NSW on Thursday morning after growing concerns about its welfare due to the cold water and lack of seagrass.

It was first spotted in the area two months ago.


"Its health had deteriorated and it had clearly lost weight and skin condition from its time in Merimbula," Stephen Dovey, from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, said in a statement.

The sickly dugong pictured at Merimbula on January 21. Photo: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Deemed fit enough to fly by a vet, the dugong was loaded onto the RAAF plane headed for Sea World on the Gold Coast.

"The dugong will spend some time at Sea World regaining its health and we are all hoping it will make a full recovery with the ideal outcome being its eventual return to Moreton Bay," said Mr Dovey.


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