New Delhi, Apr 11 : The Union Cabinet today gave its approval to India joining the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the conservation and management of Dugongs and their habitats throughout their range.
With this decision the Indian efforts for conservation of Dugongs would get international recognition.
Protection or monitoring, management of endangered Dugong populations in the Indian waters will become more effective.
It would facilitate availability of international expertise for carrying out research studies on Dugongs in the area.
Dugong (Dugong Dugon) is the only herbivorous mammal that is strictly marine and the only member of Order Sirenia found in India.
Dugongs are restricted to coastal shallow marine habitats were ample foods is available. This bottom-feeding nocturnal herbivore grazes on the sea grass meadows in coastal waters and are, therefore, called as "Sea Cows".
Protection of this species assumes great importance in the conservation of marine habitat and its biodiversity.
Dugongs, which are found in Indian coastal waters, are legally protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. They are listed in Appendix-I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and in Appendix II of the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) to both of which India is a signatory.