Tamil Nadu government officially announced to establish India’s first-ever conservation reserve to establish in their state. The conservation reserve is for Dugongs. Also, known as Sea Cows. The reserve will cover 500km in Palk Bay on the southeast coast of the state. On Friday, the Tamil Nadu government announced plans to set up Dugongs Conservation Reserve.
Minister of Forest K Ramachandran says in order to protect the species Dugongs marine reserve will be established on the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay area with community engagement.
Tamil Nadu Environment Secretary Supriya Sahu also tweeted stating the official announcement:
What are Dugongs or Sea Cows?
The Dugong or sea cow is an endangered marine mammal facing extinction due to habitat loss, marine pollution, and the disappearance of seagrasses. In Tamil Nadu, dugongs are located in Mannar Bay, an area of the shallow bay between the southeastern tip of Tamil Nadu and western Sri Lanka, and Palk Bay, a semi-enclosed shallow water area in the same area.
Dugongs are cousins of manatees and share a similar plump appearance, but have a dolphin fluke-like tail. And unlike manatees, which use freshwater areas, the dugong is strictly a marine mammal. Commonly known as “sea cows,” dugongs graze peacefully on sea grasses in shallow coastal waters of the Indian and western Pacific Oceans.