World Dugong Day 2020
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Environment; Biodiversity
- ‘World Dugong Day’ was recently celebrated on May 28, 2020.
- The special emphasis was laid down on its fight for survival in Indian waters.
- Experts have also expressed fear that unless conserved, it could one day become extinct.
Important value additions
- It is commonly known as the sea cow.
- It is an endangered marine species like sea turtles, seahorses, sea cucumbers and others.
- They are protected in India under Schedule I of the Wild (Life) Protection Act, 1972.
- In India, it is found in the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, Gulf of Kutch and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- It is an important part of the marine ecosystem.
- Its depletion will have effects all the way up the food chain.
- It grazes on seagrass, especially young shoots and roots in shallow coastal waters.
- Main threats to dugongs are human activities such as:
- the destruction and modification of habitat,
- rampant illegal fishing activities,
- vessel strikes,
- unsustainable hunting or poaching
- unplanned tourism
- loss of seagrass beds due to ocean floor trawling
- The Government of India is also a signatory to the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) since 1983 where it has signed non-legally binding Memorandums of Understanding on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016).
- Proper conservation is the only way to save dugongs from extinction.
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