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Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, and Dugong Conservation



  Mar 16, 2024

Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, and Dugong Conservation


What is the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay?

The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay are significant marine ecosystems located between the southeastern coast of India and the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. These areas are rich in biodiversity and serve as critical habitats for a wide range of marine species, including coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses, and various species of fish and marine mammals.
 

Why is the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay important for dugong conservation?

The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay are important for dugong conservation due to the presence of extensive seagrass beds, which are the primary diet of dugongs. These areas provide a critical habitat for dugongs, offering them feeding grounds and shelter. However, due to threats such as habitat destruction, pollution, and fishing activities, the dugong population in these regions has been declining, highlighting the need for dedicated conservation efforts.
 

What is a Dugong?

The Dugong (Dugong dugon), also known as the "Sea Cow," is a marine mammal that belongs to the order Sirenia. It is the only extant species of herbivorous mammal that lives exclusively in the sea. Dugongs are closely related to manatees and are known for their gentle nature. They feed mainly on seagrass and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of seagrass ecosystems.
 

What is the significance of establishing a conservation reserve for dugongs in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay?

Establishing India's first conservation reserve for dugongs in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay is significant because it represents a dedicated effort to protect and conserve the dugong population and their habitat in this region. The reserve aims to implement measures that will help mitigate threats to dugongs, promote the regeneration of seagrass habitats, and ensure the long-term survival of this species. This initiative also positions India as a leading nation in South Asia concerning dugong conservation and marine biodiversity protection.
 

How does dugong conservation benefit the marine ecosystem?

Dugong conservation benefits the marine ecosystem in several ways. By protecting dugongs and their seagrass habitats, conservation efforts help maintain the health and productivity of seagrass beds, which are vital for carbon sequestration, improving water quality, and supporting a diverse array of marine life. Furthermore, healthy seagrass ecosystems contribute to the resilience of marine environments against the impacts of climate change and provide important services for coastal communities, including fisheries and tourism.


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