of India has initiated the assessment of dugongs
distribution, habitat and risks due to fisheries and other anthropogenic
related activities in India following the standardized Dugong catch/incidental
catch survey developed by UNEP/CMS Dugong MoU
Secretariat with the help of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun. This was stated by Shrimati
Jayanthi Natarajan Minister
of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests, in the Lok Sabha today, in a written
reply to a question by Prof. Saugata Roy. She further stated
that the Government of India has supported the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation,
Gujarat to assess the populations of dugong using interview based survey in
2009 and found that the populations of dugong were declined in its all ranges.
Primary analysis of the survey carried out by WII in 2012-13 has also confirmed
that the dugong populations in Gujarat
and Tamil Nadu is declining due to
fisheries related activities, pollution and habitat degradation. However, the
dugong population in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is found to be stable.
stated that the steps taken by the Government to protect the habitats of wild
animals including marine animals in the country are as follows:-
Dugong has been identified as one of the 16 selected
species for initiating recovery programmes in their
respective habitats under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes of ‘Integrated
Development of Wildlife Habitats'. Financial and technical assistance is provided
to the Union Territory Government of Andaman & Nicobar Islands under the
component ‘Recovery of Critically Endangered Species’.
Legal protection has been provided to wild animals against
hunting and commercial exploitation under the provisions of the Wild Life
(Protection) Act, 1972. According to the conservation and threat status,
wild animals are placed in different schedules of the Act. Dugongs are included
in Schedule I of the Act, which affords it the highest degree of protection under
The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, provides for
punishment of offences for violation of its provisions. The Act also provides
for forfeiture of any equipment, vehicle or weapon that is used for committing
Protected Areas, viz., National Parks, Sanctuaries,
Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves covering important wildlife habitats
have been created all over the country under the provisions of the Wild Life
(Protection) Act, 1972 to conserve wild animals and their habitats.
The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has been set up to
strengthen the enforcement of law for control of poaching and illegal trade in
wildlife and its products.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been
empowered under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to apprehend and prosecute
The State/Union Territory Governments have been
requested to strengthen the field formations and intensify patrolling in and
around the Protected Areas.
Strict vigil is maintained by the officials of State
Departments of Forests and Wildlife.
RM/RS- USQ3274 -