The Union ministry of environment and forest announced last week that 17 species of animals and birds that are listed as endangered are being considered for recovery from the ‘Endangered species list’ of the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The list includes Asiatic Lions whose population is visibly increasing and other species like the Indian bustards and snow leopards that are known to be struggling to survive.
The name Dugong probably may not ring a bell to most. Otherwise known as Sea-cow, Dugongs are marine mammals akin to sharks, whales, seals and dolphins. These are harmless underwater animals, big in size and feed only on sea grass, coming on to the surface of water at regular intervals to breathe like whales and Gangetic Dolphins. They spend most of their time feeding on sea grass; because of this, their habitat is restricted to coastal waters of Indo-west –Pacific tropics and ranges across 37 nations. Once found in abundance, today their species are in extreme danger due to uncontrolled mechanized fishing, poaching and habitat loss. Dugongs are categorised as threatened species coming under the IUCN Red list. Quite a few important conservation measures are being undertaken by organisations including Government of India.