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Dugong reserve in Palk Bay

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    2nd Mar, 2022

Context

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

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

  • 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.
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