Dugongs are listed as a vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, endangered on the US Federal list, and is on Appendix I on CITES. This threatened status is primarily due to human hunting and activities. Dugongs are inadvertently trapped in fish and shark nets and die due to lack of oxygen. They also get struck by boats and ships. Additionally, pollution into the oceans from surrounding land kills seagrass beds and may also negatively influence dugongs directly. Dugongs are also hunted for their meat, oil and other valuable commodities as previously mentioned.
Populations of dugongs are unable to rebound in part because of their very low reproduction rate. If all female dugongs in the population bred at their full potential, the maximum rate the population could increase is 5%. This rate is low even despite their long lifespan and low natural mortality rate from lack of predators.
Some protected sites for dugongs have been established, particularly off the coast of Australia. These areas contain seagrass beds and optimal environments for dugongs, such as shallow water and areas in which to calve. Reports have been made assessing what each country in the dugong range should carry out to preserve and rehabilitate these gentle creatures.
US Federal List: endangered
CITES: appendix i
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable