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News / City Life

Sydney Aquarium is campaigning for the addition of a dugong emoji

The dugong emoji and Pig the dugongs habitat at Sea Life Centre Sydney
Photograph: Supplied

The release of new emojis usually results in two things: Cher’s Twitter vocabulary increases (she sure does love those ‘mojis) and debates begin about which tiny graphics should have made the most recent cut (don’t get us started on the 'glass of white wine').

Following the release of Apple’s latest additions to the emoji lexicon earlier this week, a call has gone out to recognise one of Sydney’s more unusual hometown heroes. The folks at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium want to give one of their most beloved residents, Pig the dugong, a very special present for his 21st birthday later this month, by having his lovely sea-cow face digitally immortalised in emoji form.

The aquarium has started a petition to campaign for the inclusion of a dugong emoji in the next update to the emoji library, although Pig’s keepers say they will also settle for a lettuce leaf, the sole component of Pig’s diet. The new emoji would not merely be a vanity project for this social media savvy sea-dweller. It’s hoped the dugong emoji could also help raise awareness of the environmental threats faced by this aquatic mammal in the wild, as their natural habitats and food sources are destroyed by coastal developments, water pollution and climate change.

Pig ­– who is affectionately named after his enthusiastic eating habits – is one of the aquarium’s most recognisable residents and has lived at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium since 2008. In 2017, he had a brief moment of fame during Sophie Monk’s season of The Bachelorette, after he gave Monk a bit of a fright during a date to the aquarium.

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