India to join global effort to save Sea Cows

April 11th, 2008 - 6:09 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) India Friday decided to join the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) to conserve Dugongs commonly known as Sea Cows, the only herbivorous mammal marine species. The cabinet decided that India would join the “memorandum of understanding (of the CMS) on the conservation and management of dugongs and their habitats”.

Protection of the species is of great importance in the conservation of marine habitat and its biodiversity, Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

“Protection, 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,” Sibal said.

Dugongs generally graze on the sea grass in coastal waters. An adult animal is about nine feet long and weighs over 250 kg. Female dugongs are generally longer and heavier than their male counterparts.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has put Dugongs as species vulnerable to extinction.

The CMS is an intergovernmental treaty formulated under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme and aims at conserving terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species. Scores of countries from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe are party to the treaty.

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