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Current Affairs

Dugong conservation reserve

Date: 09 September 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The government of Tamil Nadu will soon be setting up a dugong conservation reserve in the Palk Bay for protection of the animal.

 

Background

Dugongs (Dugong dugon) are also known as “Sea Cow”. They are last living species of the order Sirenia.

 

Details

  • Dugongs are usually found in warm waters of Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. They usually inhabit shallow waters that have marine grass meadows.

  • They can weigh about 300 kilograms and grow upto three meters long. They cannot live underwater permanently and come to surface for breathing.

  • In India they are seen in the Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

 

Conservation

  • In the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, dugongs are listed as Vulnerable.  There is prohibition on trade of the species and its parts.

  • They find a place in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

 

Threats

  • Degradation of seagrass, water pollution and structural damages to sea floor are threatening the existence of these species.

  • They also experience damages and deaths after getting caught in fishing nets and collide with boats, trawlers.

 

Conservation reserve

Researchers estimate that the area houses about 150 to 200 dugongs. The area has the highest concentration of dugongs in the country.

 

Reducing threats

  • Authorities are conducting awareness programmes for fishermen and other communities residing near the coastal areas.

  • Fishermen are being given appreciation awards for releasing dugongs caught accidentally in fishing nets. Regular inspection is carried out.