India’s 1st Dugong conservation reserve will be setup in Palk Bay in the state of Tamil Nadu.
About Dugong conservation reserve
- The Dugong conservation reserve will cover a 500-sqkm.
- The proposed conservation area has the highest concentration of dugongs in the country.
- The reserve will span the northern part of the Palk Bay from Adirampattinam to Amapattinam.
- The dugong (Dugong dugon), also called the sea cow, is a herbivorous mammal.
- They can grow upto three meters long, weigh about 300 kilograms, and live for about 65 to 70 years, grazing on seagrass and coming to the surface to breathe.
- They are found in over 30 countries and in India are seen in the Gulf of Mannar, Gulf of Kutch, Palk Bay, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- IUCN: Vulnerable
- Indian Wildlife Act 1972: Schedule 1
- CITES: Appendix I
- The loss of seagrass habitats, water pollution and degradation of the coastal ecosystem due to developmental activities have made life tough for these slow-moving animals. Dugongs are also victims of accidental entanglement in fishing nets and collision with boats, trawlers.
- It is one of four living species of the order Sirenia, which also includes three species of manatees.
- It is the only living representative of the once-diverse family Dugongidae.
- The dugong is the only sirenian in its range.
About Palk Bay
- Palk Bay is a semi-enclosed shallow water body with a water depth maximum of 13 meters.
- Located between India and Sri Lanka along the Tamil Nadu coast, the dugong is a flagship species in the region.
- Palk Bay is considered to be one amongst the major sinks for sediments along with Gulf of Mannar.
- To the south of Palk Bay, Adam’s Bridge separates Palk Bay from the Gulf of Mannar. Despite being a very shallow channel, Wave effects are transmitted to a small extent through the Adam’s Bridge passage.
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