According to a paper published on August 24th, 2022 in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the Dugong is now “functionally extinct” in China. These gentle marine mammals, sometimes referred to as sea cows, are one of four species of the order Sirenia. They are the cousins of the Amazonian manatee, West Indian manatee, West African manatee, and the now extinct Steller’s sea cow. These peaceful creatures invoked myths of mermaids and fantasy, existing in Chinese waters for thousands of years. Now, because of habitat loss, food loss, hunting, and collisions with watercraft, the Dugong is now one step closer to meeting the fate of their Steller cousin, and only other member of the Dugongidae family.