Wildlife Conservation Efforts

First Dugong Conservation Reserve to be built in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Dugong

Mains level: Not Much

India’s first Dugong conservation reserve will be built in Tamil Nadu for the conservation of Dugong, a marine mammal.

Try answering this PYQ:

With reference to ‘dugong’, a mammal found in India, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is a herbivorous marine animal.
  2. It is found along the entire coast of India.
  3. It is given legal protection under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1974.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 3 only


Post your answers here.
Please leave a feedback on thisx

Dugong Conservation Reserve

  • The reserve will spread over an area of 500 km in Palk Bay on the southeast coast of Tamil Nadu.
  • 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.

Dugong: The sea cow

  • Dugong or the sea cow is the State animal of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • This endangered marine species survive on seagrass and other aquatic vegetation found in the area.
  • It is the only herbivorous mammal that is strictly marine and is the only extant species in the family Dugongidae.
  • Dugongs are usually about three-meter long and weigh about 400 kg.
  • Dugongs have an expanded head and trunk-like upper lip.
  • Elephants are considered to be their closest relatives. However, unlike dolphins and other cetaceans, sea cows have two nostrils and no dorsal fin.

Their habitat

  • Distributed in shallow tropical waters in the Indo-Pacific region, in India, they are found in the Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Dugongs are long-living animals, that have a low reproductive rate, long generation time, and high investment in each offspring.
  • The female dugongs do not bear their first calf until they are at least 10 and up to 17 years old.
  • A dugong population is unlikely to increase more than 5% per year. They take a long time to recover due to the slow breeding rate.

Causes of extinction

  • Having being declared vulnerable, the marine animal calls for conserving efforts.
  • Studies have suggested the reasons for the extinction of the animal such as slow breeding rate, fishing, and the loss of habitat.
  • They are also known to suffer due to accidental entanglement and drowning in gill-nets.

Conservation in India

  • The conservation reserve can promote growth and save vulnerable species from the verge of extinction.
  • Dugongs are protected in India under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Act 1972 which bans the killing and purchasing of dugong meat.
  • IUCN status: Vulnerable

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