The Tamil Nadu government has begun work to form India’s first Dugong Conservation Reserve in the Palk Bay region. Financial support was extended to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) and baseline field studies. Dugongs are endangered species protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The State Environment, Forests and Climate Change Department, after accepting the concept note of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj for creation of the Dugong Conservation Reserve, directed him to send draft notification of the proposal to obtain the concurrence of the Union environment ministry.
The dugong reserve will tentatively spread over 500 sqkm and will be located in the northern part of the Palk Bay from Adiramapattinam to Amapattinam.
According to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), only 200-250 dugongs are left in the wild, of which 150 are found in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, one of the last surviving natural habitats for dugongs.
The initial cost for establishment of the reserve for the first five years would be Rs 5 crore. Plans are afloat to build an international conservation centre and enhance seagrass beds under the Climate Change Mission.
Source; The Indian Express
Photo courtesy: WWF