In the lead-up to the 'Seagrass Tales, Dugongs Trails' exhibition, the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) has collaborated with ExxonMobil Research Qatar (EMRQ), Qatar University, UNESCO Doha Office, Texas A&M at Galveston, and the Ministry of Municipality and Environment to conduct research and a series of workshops on the dugong - a sea mammal native surrounding Qatar's peninsula for more than 7,500 years.
The exhibition will examine the animal, its environment, and its ongoing cultural significance for Qatar, while also highlighting how the community can mitigate the dugongs threat of extinction.
"The dugong is a fascinating creature, and its story is sure to captivate museum visitors of all ages," explained Sheikha Amna bint Abdulaziz bin Jassim Al-Thani, Director, National Museum of Qatar. "We want to inform our public about the importance of protecting these mammals, which have special cultural and environmental significance to the people of Qatar."
"With this in mind, the National Museum has adopted the dugong as its official mascot. We are thankful to our many partners who supported the research behind Seagrass Tales, Dugong Trails, especially ExxonMobil Research Qatar," she added.
"This exhibition is important in supporting the research work and conservation efforts we have been doing at our center to help protect Qatar's dugong population," Senior Environmental Scientist for ExxonMobil Research Qatar Nayla Al Naema said.
The exhibition displays dugongs belonging to the family Sirenia, closely related to the manatee animal, and the last living species in the family of dugongs in terms of their physiological, anatomical characteristics, scientific classification, evolution and history in the region, usually more than three meters long and weighing up to 550 kg. Its origin goes back 50 million years to the area of the Tethys Sea. The largest herds of these animals in the world were recorded in Qatar, which included about 800 of them.
Seagrass Tales, Dugong Trails will remain on view through 15 July 2021 and is presented as part of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture.
In keeping with the guidelines set by the Ministry of Public Health, a limited number of visitors and staff will be allowed inside each museum. Visitors will be required to reserve tickets in advance on the Qatar Museums website: https://visit.qm.org.qa/.
Cover image credit: NMoQ
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