TN to implement Project Dolphin to save the species, improve population, issues GO

Chennai, Nov 8 (UNI) The Tamil Nadu Government has issued orders to implement Project Dolphin to save dolphins, improve its population and habitats in Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve.

An official release on Wednesday said the project will be implemented under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Union Government.

The Project Dolphin will strengthen the marine ecology and overall health of marine Environment and will be implemented at a cost of Rs.8.13 crore.

It said more than nine species of Marine Dolphins are found in the Coastal Waters of Tamil Nadu.

Stating that major habitats of the dolphins are found in the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, it said last year, seven Dolphins were successfully rescued and released back to the sea at Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve.

The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve is an area of high productivity with rich marine biodiversity including marine mammals such as dugongs etc.

Dolphins play an important role in keeping the marine environment in balance. Dolphins around the world face various natural and human-induced threats which include hunting, entanglement in fishing nets, overfishing, climate change, ship strikes, tourism activities, toxic contamination, noise pollution, oil and gas development and habitat degradation.

The conservation of dolphins and their aquatic habitat through use of modern technology by engaging with fishermen and other ocean dependent population is proposed under the project.

This will be helpful in improving the population of Dolphin species and protection of their habitat at the same time improving livelihood of the local communities.

Under the project a number of activities will be undertaken to handle challenges for saving critically endangered species.

The project will focus on key activities including strengthening of protection activities through better patrolling anti-poaching activities and strengthening of the surveillance and patrolling teams with modern equipment and technology; Rescue and rehabilitation activities through strengthening of veterinary services, patrolling and training etc; Dolphin habitat improvement through restoration of coastal eco-system like mangroves, corals, sea grass etc; Removal of ghost nets and reduction of pollution in coastal areas; enhancing awareness through celebration of “National Dolphin Day”

with the involvement of local community and educational Institutions including launch of ‘Dolphin Scholarship’; encouragement of local community through incentives and awards; launch of Dolphin scholarship programme and enhance understanding of their habitats etc. promoting eco-tourism and creating livelihood opportunities as a substitute to the conventional fishing practices and hold symposium, seminars, meetings etc. for better learning and understanding of this endangered species.

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