Yesterday, Pig the Dugong turned the ripe age of 19. Ahead of his birthday bash tomorrow, he celebrated yesterday with Sydney Aquarium marine biologists.
The much-loved dugong was treated to an extravagant cake made entirely of lettuce, lots of belly rubs and scratches as well as some new toys to play with. Sydneysiders took to Instagram to wish the popular dugong happy birthday.
“We’re so excited to celebrate Pig’s 19th birthday! We’re honouring this special occasion in true dugong style with all of Pig’s favourite things in life – toys, belly rubs and of course, lettuce!” said Sea Life Sydney Aquarium Marine Biologist, Andrew Barnes.
HEY HUMANS! I’m kicking off my birthday celebrations early (because, why not?) and my people at Sea Life Sydney are throwing me a birthday bash on Thursday at 1pm! Come one, come all – lett-uce celebrate together! Enter/mention the code PIGBDAY to save 19% - because it’s my 19th birthday, duh! Code valid Thursday 23rd - Sunday 26th November 2017. #yougetadiscount #yougetadiscount #EVERYBODYGETSADISCOUNT #basicallyoprah
“Pig loved getting his back scratched with his new board. He also had great fun playing with his colourful ball – splashing it around and diving on it.”
The birthday celebration is part of the environment enrichment program for the dugongs.
"Dugongs are intelligent animals, so it's important that we provide a variety of fun enrichment activities to encourage increased behavioural diversity. Today, it is a ball and board, however, we have a number of ways of encouraging development including playing with buckets and brightly-coloured traffic cones," continued Mr Barnes.
Image: Lettuce cake for Pig, Syndey Aquarium
Pig was affectionately named after his piggish eating habits and shares a space in the aquarium with one other dugong, Wuru. Pig was rescued from Forrest Beach in North Queensland when he was separated from his mother at an early age. Pig was rehabilitated and was released back into the wild, however, he was found washed up not much later. The decision was made not to release him a second time for fears he wouldn’t survive.
Dugongs are currently listed as vulnerable in the wild due to habitat loss, pollution and boat strikes. Both Pig and Wuru are helping educate the Australian public on the future of dugongs and the threats they face in the wild. Sea Life Sydney Aquarium’s ‘Breed Rescue Protect’ program contribute to dugong conservation and dugong research.
Lead Image: Pig the dugong, Sydney Aquarium