Tamil Nadu To House India’s First Dugong Conservation Reserve To Protect Marine Species

by Vinita Jain
Tamil Nadu To House India’s First Dugong Conservation Reserve To Protect Marine Species

On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu made an announcement about the country’s first Dugong Conservation Reserve at Palk Bay. It will be covering 448 square kilometres of coastal waters in the Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts. The move aims to protect endangered species and enhance marine life.

On September 3, 2021, the Government of Tamil Nadu announced in the Assembly that in order to protect the endangered dugongs and their marine habitat in Tamil Nadu, the Dugong Reserve will be established.

Thousands Of Fishing Families In Tamil Nadu Depend Directly On Dugong Habitat For Income

According to an official statement, the dugongs are the largest herbivorous marine mammals, mainly thriving on seagrass meadows. Protecting these dugongs helps to safeguard and enhance seagrass beds, which are also breeding and feeding grounds for many fish species and marine animals. Also, thousands of fishing families are directly dependent on the dugong’s habitat for income.

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A press release said that the government of Tamil Nadu issued the notice after extensive consultation with coastal communities, including local fishermen. This is a significant milestone in the country’s marine conservation history. The coastal communities understand the need to protect dugongs and are cooperating with the Forest Service on conservation efforts.

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No More Restrictions Will Be Imposed

Dugong Tamil Nadu
Picture Credit: pixabay

The government has also clarified that the nature reserve announcement will not impose new restrictions on communities. It will focus on community participation and cooperation in conservation efforts. According to a press release, there are only about 240 dugongs in the country, most of them found in the Palk Bay area. Dugongs are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Conservation) Act 1972 due to their declining population.

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Blessed with rich marine biodiversity, Tamil Nadu is also home to other rare and endangered species of fish and turtles.

Cover image courtesy: pixabay