My illustration for The Constant Gardener, an article on dugong feeding behaviour written by Elrika D’Souza and Vardhan Patankar, for Current Conservation magazine’s issue 8.2.
The article describes how dugongs feed in seagrass meadows (their principal food source) by completely grazing them down; and leaving these fields for other areas for a time long enough to allow the depleted areas to regenerate. Thus the dugongs tend to these meadows like gardeners, ensuring for themselves a supply of desirable, high-nutrition seagrass species — while keeping the growth of low-nutrition high-fibre species down through their grazing cycles.
The illustration shows a pair of dugongs working through some seagrass fields, leaving “trails” which eventually grow over again.
Read the article here.
MORE: On Vardhan’s blog, more details on the ongoing dugong study in the Andaman & Nicobar archipelago; on how dugong conservation efforts involve caring for its habitat and involving the local communities in protecting this species.