The US General Consulate in HCM City on April 22, on the occasion of Earth Day, awarded prizes and certificates to the winners of a contest to design a logo for the Save the Dugong campaign.

The contest, which aims to raise public awareness in protecting the dugong, received about 300 entries between March 14 and April 12.

The dugong, a threatened manatee-like marine mammal with a limited coastal range from Australia through India , is nearing extinction in Vietnam waters, according to a US General Consulate press release.

The top prize in the adult category was given to Le Dieu Bang, a professional designer in HCM City , and the first prize in the student category went to Doan Nguyen Hoang Lap, who attends the HCM City University of Architecture.

Marginal populations of the dugong have been verified off Phu Quoc island and in the Con Dao archipelago.

Overfishing and a lack of knowledge about the species, as well as an intermittently active trade in dugong meat on Phu Quoc island, have presented real challenges to species survival. It is difficult to determine how many dugong are left in Vietnam , according to the consulate.-VNA