World Dugong Day 2020

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Every year on 28th May, World Dugong Day is celebrated. Dugong are also known as ‘Sea Cow’ , one of the four surviving species in the Order Sirenia. It is the only existing species of herbivorous mammal.

About

  • Lives exclusively in the sea including in India.
  • On the IUCN Red List, they are listed as Vulnerable.
  • Protected under Schedule I of the Wild (Life) Protection Act, 1972 in India.
  • They are an important part of the marine ecosystem.
  • Their depletion would have effects on the food chain.

Threats

  • As Dugongs graze on seagrass so the loss of seagrass beds due to ocean floor trawling is a threat to Dugongs.
  • Various human activities:
    • Destruction and modification of habitat.
    • Pollution.
    • Rampant illegal fishing activities.
    • Vessel strikes.
    • Unsustainable hunting or poaching.
    • Unplanned tourism.

Trawling

  • A method of fishing.
  • It involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind one or more boats.
  • It can damage the seafloor, coral reefs including other marine animals.

Conservation Efforts

  • India hosted the 13th Conference of Parties (CoP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) .
  • CMS is an environmental treaty under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) .
  • Since 1983, the Government of India is a signatory to the CMS.
  • A task force was constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change for Conservation of Dugongs.
    • To look into the issues related to conservation of dugongs.
    • Implementation of the ‘UNEP/CMS Dugong MoU’ in India.

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