Dugong reserve in Palk Bay
2nd Mar, 2022
Marine biologists have welcomed the Tamil Nadu government’s recent decision to go ahead with the establishment of a conservation reserve for the elusive dugong (Dugong dugon).
About the species
- Dugong (Dugong dugon) is a sirenian species native to parts of the Indian littoral.
- Dugongs are cousins of manatees and share a similar plump appearance, but have a dolphin fluke-like tail.
- And unlike manatees, which use freshwater areas, the dugong is strictly a marine mammal.
- Commonly known as "sea cows," dugongs graze peacefully on sea grasses in shallow coastal waters of the Indian and western Pacific Oceans.
- Dugongs as a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Declining population: The dugongs are on the verge of extinction.
- In the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, their population is less than 100.
- There are very few left in the Gulf of Mannar.
- In the Gulf of Kutch, there are very few sporadic records.
- They were present in Lakshadweep but now are locally extinct.
- The plan included to set up a dugong conservation reserve in the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay between India and Sri Lanka, for the conservation of the animals.