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December 10, 2023

Tamil Nadu gets the Nation’s First Dugong Conservation Reserve

The Palk Bay “Dugong Conservation Reserve” was announced by the state government on Wednesday. The region offers the perfect habitat for dugongs, dolphins, and turtles because it is a shallow water body that is surrounded by a number of small rivers along the coast.

The dugongs live in this area of the biosphere reserve, not far from the shore, in water that is 10 meters deep. These marine mammals range in length from 3.5 to 5 meters and weigh up to 300 kg. Their numbers have decreased significantly as a result of past overexploitation of seagrass beds by fishermen and habitat loss.

The creation of a dugong conservation reserve would aid in preserving both the habitat and this critically endangered species.

The state government held extensive consultations with the coastal communities, particularly the local fishermen, before announcing the area as a conservation reserve. The plan for the conservation reserve was only submitted with their approval.

The communities will not be subject to any new rules or restrictions as a result of the reserve’s notification; instead, the emphasis will be on getting their support and cooperation for conservation efforts.

The two district collectors endorsed the proposal. Additionally, the chief naval hydrographer acknowledged the conservation reserve.

One of the researchers responded that dugong poaching had stopped in the Palk Bay area when questioned about it. In fact, two years ago, in the coastal village of Keezhathottam in the Thanjavur district, local fishermen assisted in the rescue of a few dugongs.

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