Recently, the Tamil Nadu Government issued an order to implement ‘Project Dolphin’ under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat programme of the government of India.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Project Dolphin
- Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat Programme
- Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve
- Objective: Project Dolphin aims to enhance the marine ecology and overall health of the marine environment.
- Components: The project involves strengthening patrolling and surveillance, habitat improvement through the restoration of coastal ecosystems, removal of ghost nets, and encouraging local community involvement with incentives.
- Budget: The project will be implemented at a cost of 8.13 crore rupees during 2023-2024. The funding will be shared, with 60% provided by the Union government and the remaining cost borne by the State.
- Significance: Project Dolphin seeks to improve the population of dolphin species, protect their habitat, and enhance the livelihoods of local communities. Over nine species of marine dolphins inhabit the coastal waters of Tamil Nadu, with major habitats in the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve.
Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat Programme:
- It is an ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme that has evolved by adding more components and activities to the former Centrally Sponsored Scheme, “Assistance for the Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries,” during the 11th Plan Period.
- Components: The programme includes support for protected areas (national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation reserves, and community reserves), wildlife protection outside protected areas, and recovery programmes for critically endangered species and habitats.
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve:
- The reserve comprises three distinct coastal ecosystems: coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves.
- It is renowned as one of the world’s richest regions in terms of marine biodiversity.
- The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve holds the distinction of being the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in South and Southeast Asia.
- Recognized by UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme, the reserve is home to several globally significant and highly endangered species, including the Dugong, whale shark, sea horses, Balanoglossus, green sea turtle, Hawksbill turtle, dolphins, sacred chanks, and more.
-Source: The Hindu