Tamil Nadu Tourism: Here’s Everything You Need to Know Abut India’s First Dugong Reserve in Palk Bay
Dugongs are generally found in shallow waters at the depth of 10 metres but occasionally they dive down to 39 metres for feeding on seagrass.
In the Palk Bay region, the Tamil Nadu government has started the work for India’s first dugong conservation reserve. Dugongs are endangered species that are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), in a study, reported that only 200-250 dugongs are left in the wild of which 150 are found in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar off Tamil Nadu.
The WII said that the area was being used as a breeding ground and therefore identified as a critical habitat.
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The state government has already extended financial support to prepare a detailed project report, and the state Forest and Environment Department has already directed Tamil Nadu Chief Wildlife Warden, Shekar Kumar Neeraj to send the draft notification of the proposal to the Union Environment Ministry.
The size of the Dugong reserve will be tentatively spread over 500 sq km and will be located in the northern part of the Palk of Bay from Adiramapattinam to Amapattinam.
According to information from the state Forest Department, the cost of establishing a reserve for the first five years would be Rs 5 crore.
A dugong and calf were first sighted in Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar in 2018. Six dugongs were rescued and released back to sea but 11 had died.
In India, dugongs, apart from Palk Bay, and Gulf of Mannar, are found in Gulf of Kutch (Gujarat), and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, the presence of dugongs is maximum in Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar. Dugongs are generally found in shallow waters at the depth of 10 metres but occasionally they dive down to 39 metres for feeding on seagrass.
(With IANS inputs)
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