Mit Seekühen und Dugongs schwimmen

Have you ever wanted to experience a Manatee or a Dugong while diving, snorkeling or on a boat close up in their natural habitat?

We have done the research and show you the best places to meet Dugongs and Manatees or even swim with them. 

Seekühe gelten als vom Aussterben bedroht. Es gibt eine Reihe von internationalen Gesetzen zum Schutz dieser Tiere, wie z.B. das Gesetz zum Schutz der Meeressäuger. Dennoch sind sie durch vom Menschen verursachte Gefahren wie den Verlust ihres Lebensraums durch Küstenentwicklung, Zusammenstöße mit Wasserfahrzeugen und Wilderei stark bedroht.  

Check out our blog about the Best Places to dive and Swim with Dolphins .

You can either read the full article or jump ahead to your favorite part of Where to see Manatees!

Get to know Manatees

Endangerment of Manatees and Dugongs

The Best Places to see and swim with Manatees or Dugongs

Seekühe kennenlernen

Seekühe leben sowohl in den flachen Gewässern der Meeresküstengebiete als auch in Süßwasserlebensräumen. Man findet sie nur im warmen Wasser der tropischen Regionen. Im Gegensatz zu Seehunden haben sie keine geeigneten Gliedmaßen, um sich an Land fortzubewegen, sie verlassen nie das Wasser. Sie verbringen ihre Tage damit, langsam umherzutreiben, während sie grasen oder schlafen. Seekühe müssen zum Atmen in Intervallen auftauchen. 

Unterschiede zwischen einem Dugong und einer Seekuh

Für Nicht-Experten ist es leicht, über die Unterschiede zwischen Seekühen und Dugongs verwirrt zu werden. Vielleicht kennen Sie die Namen Dugong oder Seekuh oder sogar Sirenia. Beginnen wir also mit einer kleinen Klarstellung. In der Taxonomie der Tiere sprechen wir von der Ordnung der Sirenen oder, mit einem viel populäreren Ausdruck, der Seekühe. Der Name Seekuh kommt von ihrer bevorzugten Nahrung, dem Seegras.

Their closest relatives in the animal kingdom are the elephants. Under the order of sea-cows we have two families. One comprises three different species of Manatees. The other family consists of only one remaining specy which is called Dugong. Since all these sea-cows are cousins, they look very similar, with the biggest difference being their tails. Manatees have paddle-like tails and dugongs have fluke-like tails. To make things easy, we call them here simply sea-cow or Manatee alike. Learn more Where to see Manatees.

Schlüsselfakten der Seekühe und Dugongs

Hier sind einige wichtige Fakten über Dugongs und Seekühe. Die folgende Tabelle ist gut, um einen Überblick über sie zu erhalten.

Körperlänge2.5 to 4 m (8 to 13 ft)
LebensraumSeekuh: Salz- und Süßwasser Dugong: nur Salzwasser
Typisches Gewichtbis zu 1.500 kg (3.300 lb)
Diätmeist Seegras und andere Wasserpflanzen, gelegentlich wirbellose Tiere. Sie fressen 10 – 15% ihres Körpergewichts pro Tag (ca. 50 kg / 110 lb)
Dauer der Tauchgänge5 bis 20 Minuten
HöchstalterSeekuh: 40 Jahre; Dugong: 60 Jahre

Wo leben Seekühe und Dugongs?

The distribution areas of the four families of sea-cows do not overlap and are sometimes very far apart (see map below). The so called West Indian manatee lives in the Gulf of Mexico off the coasts of Florida and the south-eastern USA, the coasts of Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and the northern coasts of South America (green area).

Next to it in the Amazon region in South America lives the Amazonian manatee (red area) and finally on the coasts of West Africa between Senegal and northern Angola and in the river systems there lives the African manatee (orange area). All about Where to see Manatees.

Die einzige lebende Dugong-Art kommt ausschließlich an den Küsten des Indischen Ozeans, einschließlich des Roten Meeres, und des südwestlichen Pazifiks (blauer Bereich) vor.

Westindisch in grün, amazonisch in rot, afrikanisch in orange, Dugong in blau
Quelle: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sirenia_distribution.png#/media/File:Sirenia_distribution.png

Gefährdung von Seekühen und Dugongs

Both, Manatees and Dugongs are quite vulnerable to environmental changes lead by humans as they are not fast and very peaceful. The occupation by land as well as our fishing habits and boat engines combined pose a massive threat for Manatees and Dugongs.

Most species are now seen as vulnurable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. If you want to contribute ot the rescue of manates and dugongs we recommend visiting the Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project or Save the Manatee Club

Wie bedroht sind Seekühe

Alle Arten von Seekühen wurden von den Bewohnern der Küsten ihrer Verbreitungsgebiete auf der Suche nach Fleisch gejagt. Dies ist insbesondere für die Indianer der nord- und mittelamerikanischen Küsten dokumentiert. Das Fleisch wurde als Nahrung und die Haut und andere Körperteile für andere Zwecke verwendet.

William Dampier, who became known as a British buccaneer and traveller, described in his travelogues of 1681 the Caribbean manatee from the Gulf of Mexico as well as from the rivers of Panama. There he also described the hunting of the animals by the Miskito and the subsequent use of the meat as food and the rough skin as oars and horse whips.

However, no excessive hunting is known to have taken place, the hunt was usually for current needs. In contrast, Steller’s manatees were pursued by seal hunters from the time of their discovery and killed in large numbers. The last animals disappeared in 1768, only 27 years after their discovery by Georg Wilhelm Steller. All about Where to see Manatees.

Wie gefährdet sind Dugongs

Today, all four living species are listed as endangered by the IUCN [2]. The greatest threat today, however, is no longer from hunting, but, especially for the Caribbean manatee, from pleasure craft that can inflict serious injuries on the animals with their propellers when they are run over.

For this reason, protected areas have been created, especially off the US coasts in the Gulf of Mexico, and clearly visible signs have been put up to indicate this; motorboat traffic is not permitted in these areas.

A further threat is the penetration of humans into their habitat; due to their metabolism, manatees need an immense amount of water plants to cover their energy requirements and thus a corresponding water quality, which is decreasing more and more due to the development of their retreat areas.

Especially the rivers in South America and Africa are becoming increasingly cloudy and contaminated with environmental toxins, and retreat areas rich in plants are becoming rare.

Seekühe im Amazonas-Regenwald

Amazon manatees, like all manatees, spend their entire lives in the water. However, as air-breathers they emerge several times per minute to breathe, but can also stay underwater for up to 15 minutes. They prefer waters with temperatures between 22 and 30 degrees Celsius. Amazon manatees are pure herbivores and feed on water plants.

However, since their herbivorous diet is not very energy-rich, they must consume about 8 to 15 percent of their own body weight daily in order to survive. Manatees can store large amounts of fat as bubbles and can thus bridge long periods of hunger. In dry periods, when no water plants are available, they can survive up to six months without food.

Although the Amazon Manatee is spread over a large area and has hardly any natural enemies, it has become very rare and is considered endangered in its survival. Its peaceableness, slowness, and its coveted fat and meat have made it an easy and popular prey for humans.

Further, serious dangers threaten the Amazon Manatee today due to the rapidly progressing clearing of the Amazon rainforests for timber production, for soya, palm oil and other plantations, or for mining and cattle grazing. That is why the WWF has been working for a long time on various levels to save the Amazon rainforest. The „Amazon Region Protected Areas Programme“ (ARPA), whose implementation the WWF is playing a major role in, aims to put 50 million hectares, an area the size of Spain, in the Amazon rainforest under permanent protection within ten years.

Die Geschichte von Phu Quoc, Vietnam als Beispiel für die Bedrohung der Seekühe

They look like they’ve fallen out of time: Massive, misshapen, gray giants: Carefully, the shy forked-tailed manatees, weighing up to 1,000 kilograms, roam the tropically warm water around the largest Vietnamese island Phu Quoc.

Fork-tailed manatees – also known as dugongs – can grow to over three metres in length. They are vegetarians. They graze calmly for hours in the seagrass fields on the seabed in shallow water near the coast.

Sie haben keine natürlichen Feinde. Außer dem Menschen. Die gigantische Müllflut, die Millionen von Touristen seit mehreren Jahren auf der Insel zurücklassen, verschmutzt das äußerst empfindliche, artenreiche Ökosystem im Südchinesischen Meer.

Die bereits gefährdeten Seekühe sind ebenso in Gefahr wie Meeresschildkröten, Tintenfische, Seepferdchen und zahlreiche tropische Fischarten.

Ohne Seekühe wird das empfindliche Ökosystem aus der Bahn geworfen

Vor Phu Quoc treibt der Plastikmüll sichtbar auf den Wellen. „Fischer und Touristenboote werfen ihre Abfälle über Bord“, sagt Stefan Ziegler vom WWF Deutschland. Täglich werden Tonnen von Müll über Flüsse ins Meer geleitet, weil es auf der von Touristen überlaufenen Insel kein funktionierendes Müllentsorgungssystem gibt.

Die Schutzgebiete an den Korallenriffen und Seegraswiesen vor Phu Quoc sind dadurch massiv bedroht.

Sea turtles confuse plastic bags floating in the water with jellyfish and die in agony. „Manatees get entangled in ghost nets and drown,“ says Stefan Ziegler. And they lose their most important source of food due to increasing marine pollution – the sea grass meadows, which are shrinking worldwide anyway.

Filled with plastic, they are not only lost as grazing ground for manatees and nursery grounds for numerous fish species, but also as an important oxygen supplier in the sea. All about Where to see Manatees.

Die besten Orte, um Seekühe oder Dugongs zu sehen und mit ihnen zu schwimmen

Wir haben eine umfassende Recherche durchgeführt, um für Sie die besten Plätze zum Schwimmen, Tauchen oder einfach zur Beobachtung von Seekühen und Dugongs zu finden.

1. Seekühe in Citrus County, Florida, USA

Citrus County calls itself as the Manatee capital in the world. You find a great number of tour operators which bring you close to the Manatees who enjoy all year round the crystal clear warm spring waters.

As to your liking you can experience these animals by approaching them safely in a tour boat, during an adventurous kayak or canoe tour or by swimming or diving with them. 

  1. Explorida

  2. Manatee Adventures

  3. Family Adventure Charters

  4. Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

  5. Manatee paddle

  6. Pontoon Tours – kayaking and diving

  7. Captain Mike’s swimming with the Manatees

Hier ist auch ein Video darüber, wie das Schwimmen mit Seekühen in Florida aussieht!

2. Treffen mit Dugongs in Palawan, Philippinen

Palawan ist die westlichste Insel der Philippinen. Was die Insel zu einem exotischen Paradies macht, sind ihre bizarren Felsformationen wie aus einer anderen Welt, kristallklares türkisfarbenes Wasser, versteckte Lagunen und unzählige feinsandige Traumstrände, aber auch ihre einzigartige Flora und Fauna – über und unter Wasser.

Dugongs können im Korallenmeer rund um die Insel gefunden werden. Sie können Ausflüge unternehmen, um diesen sanften Säugetieren zu begegnen, indem Sie sie bei einer Bootstour erspähen oder Schnorchel- oder Tauchausflüge unternehmen. 

  1. Dugong Dive Center, Busuanga Island, Palawan

  2. Busuanga Bay Divers, Busuanga Island, Palawan

3. Dugongs, Coral Coast, Ningaloo Reef, Australia

Shark Bay und in geringerem Maße der Ningaloo-Marinepark sind die beiden Orte an Australiens Westküste, an denen Sie die besten Chancen haben, Dugongs in freier Wildbahn zu sehen.

Shark Bay is one of the world’s largest population of this endangered mammal species. It is estimated that 10,000 dugongs live in the waters of Shark Bay, representing 10% of the world’s remaining population.

Shark Bay is a World Heritage Site located 800 km (500 mi) north of Perth on the westernmost point of the Australian continent. Shark Bay’s waters have a number of exceptional natural features, including one of the largest and most diverse seagrass beds in the world. No wonder that it hosts such a big number of dugongs.


The Ningaloo Reef is located approximately 400 km (250 mi) north of Shark Bay. It is the world’s largest fringing reef which comes in some places as close as 100 metres (328 ft) to the coast.

Aside from a population of Dugongs, which can be seen during boat cruises the reef is especially known for whale sharks who gather there each year from March until August. All about Where to see Manatees.

Weitere Informationen zum Tauchen mit Dugongs finden Sie hier.

  1. Shark Bay Dive and Marine Safaris bieten sowohl Tauchsafaris und Schnorchel- als auch Tauchausflüge an.
  2. Exmouth Dive and Whalesharks, Ningaloo Reef

4. Dugongs in Moreton Bay, Australia (east coast)

Der Lebensraum der Dugong erstreckt sich von der Moreton Bay bis in den Norden von Queensland. Es wird vermutet, dass es 14.000 Dugongs vor der Küste von Queensland gibt.

  1. Go Dive Brisbane

  2. Dolphin White Island Cruises, bietet Tagesausflüge zu den Dugongs und vielen anderen Meeresbewohnern der Moreton Bay an.
  3. Tangalooma Island Resort,Beobachten Sie Dugongs während einer Entdeckungsfahrt auf See.

5. Dugongs in Abu Dabbab, Red Sea, Egypt

Abu Dabbab is a wonderful bay with white beaches located 30 km (19 mi) north of Marsa Alam at the Egyptian red sea coast. It is home to wide seagrass beds which attracts Dugongs and the giant Green Sea Turtles.

You can encounter these animals and many other marine species during swimming and snorkeling from the beach. Many dive centers of the hotels in the area offer day trip to Abu Dabbab.

Ein Reiseveranstalter, der Schnorchelausflüge und Hotelabholung organisiert, ist Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay Marsa Alam Tours. Wenn Ihnen dieser Artikel gefallen hat, sehen Sie sich unseren Artikel über Delphine an!

Zusammenfassung darüber, wo Seekühe und Dugongs zu sehen sind

Manatees and Dugongs are extremely gentle creatures and old relatives of our beloved elephant.

Of course, a lot of people would like to see them in the wild and we encourage that as long as everyone is giving them the respect they deserve.

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