World Oceans Day: Plan Toys and the Dugong
During our recent trip to Thailand, we discovered so much more about Plan Toys as a company, their ethics, their sustainability and their passion for the environment. Plan Toys support and campaign for the protection of a beautiful sea mammal called the Dugong.
We learnt a lot about these majestic mammals of the sea on our trip, and in celebration of World Oceans Day, it seems only fitting to tell you all about the amazing work Plan Toys are supporting in order to protect this species from becoming extinct.
The Beautiful Dugong
- The Dugong inhabits warm waters around the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans, near seagrass beds. The Trang province in Thailand forms a large part of their habitat, which of course is the home of Plan Toys and part of the reason they have chosen to support this important conservation work
- They are peaceful herbivores and the main bulk of their diet is seagrass and can eat up to 40kg a day!! They can reach up to 11 feet and weigh up to 2000lbs.
- These amazing swimmers may be slow and steady but they can stay underwater for 3-12 minutes and travel a few hundred kilometres in just a couple of days
- The Dugong can live up to around 70 years old
- Their most closely related mammal is the elephant and are thought to have evolved around 50 million years ago when mammals entered the sea
- The biggest threat to their species is negative human activity
An Endangered Species
There are four main issues that are endangering the Dugong:
- The Indian Ocean earthquake of 2004 that caused a tsunami, had devastating impact on Thailand including destruction of natural habitat and seagrass, which the dugong rely on for food
- Illegal fishing nets prevent the Dugong getting to the oceans surface in order to breathe, as they are mammals, therefore they drown. The nets also prevent them from accessing seagrass, and they die from starvation.
- The Dugong needs to regularly switch to the surface and they are struck by boats causing gaping wounds that they will subsequently die from
- The increase in sea pollution is destroying the seagrass that Dugongs rely on to survive
Therefore it is predominantly human behaviour that is leading to the destruction of both these creatures and their natural habitat. We need to change our behaviour before it is too late.
What can be done?
- Plan Toys support and fund the replantation of seagrass, this is a labour intensive process, which requires seeds to be cultivated and then planted by hand. Jolene and Peter our founders were lucky enough to visit the seagrass nursery whilst in Thailand and were able to learn directly all about the work they are doing
- Working in partnership with fisherman and local authorities to provide protected zones where fishing boats are not permitted, therefore protecting physical harm to the Dugong
- Plan Toys provides education and resources for children about environmental issues, as it works towards being certified for the Thai Green Label Scheme from the Thailand Environmental Institute, which will recognise the company’s contribution to sustainable development
Current Progress and Impact
Due to the financial and physical support that Plan Toys provide, the seagrass is recovering and is slowly improving the natural habitat. This alongside protecting the areas the Dugong are known to inhabit from fishing boats, is already having a positive impact and there is evidence that there is increase in the Dugong population.
Hearing about the amazing work that Plan Toys are doing to protect this endangered species was a really amazing opportunity for us. The impact of their dedication, highlighted to us that when people really care, they can have a significant positive impact.
Plan Toys made us this adorable Dugong as a memory of our trip.
Babipur Beach Clean
At Babipur we are always striving to think and work in more sustainable ways. Part of this is to work in partnership with our community, and support people to reduce our environmental impact.
All week we are asking our friends and customers to join us with the Babipur Beach Clean. Even just ten minutes removing (and where possible recycling), some rubbish from your local beach or waterway will make a difference, and save it from polluting our oceans.
Join us and spread the word on social media by tagging us @babipur and using the hashtags #BabipurBeachClean #WorldOceansDay
You can also join in our Ocean themed #BabipurChallenge over on Instagram!