In the ongoing Assembly session, the Tamil Nadu government has made a slew of announcements pertaining to the measures that would be taken to protect forests, wildlife, and marine life.
According to K. Ramachandran, State Minister for Environment, Climate Change, and Forests, some of the major initiatives include – 3 medical facilities for Emergency Critical care and rehabilitation of wildlife, the establishment of another elephant sanctuary, and most importantly, the establishment of a Sea Cow sanctuary in the Southern coastal region of the state and stricter enforcement to prevent wildlife crimes.
Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, and Trichy districts have been chosen for the development of facilities that would provide emergency care and rehabilitation for wildlife.
In order to help in the protection and conservation of elephants, the establishment of an elephant sanctuary in the Agasthyamalai range of Southern Tamil Nadu has been proposed. This new sanctuary is meant to conserve elephant habitats of the southern districts comprising – Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, and Tenkasi This elephant sanctuary will be in addition to the existing four elephant sanctuaries in Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Srivilluputtur, and Anaimalai.
With regards to protecting the endangered, rare species known as Sea Cows or Dugong, the government has announced the setting up of Sea Cow Sanctuary, which would be India’s first, in the Marine regions such as Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay.
The species has been threatened to owe to the destruction of its feed, which includes ocean surface weeds and seagrass, weeds. According to Supriya Sahu, IAS, Principal Secretary Environment and Forests, the reserve meant to protect the Dugong and its habitat, the feed would span 500 km.
Government of Tamil Nadu will set up India’s first Dugong Conservation Reserve in the Palk BayDugong or the sea cow is an endangered marine species & survives on seagrass that is found in the area.The conserve will cover an area of 500 Kms #Dugong #TNForest #TNBudget @mkstalin pic.twitter.com/6V149A5OD3
— Supriya Sahu IAS (@supriyasahuias) September 3, 2021
In order to track wildlife crimes, native breeds of sniffer dogs would be trained and deployed in the forest regions. Whereas in case of maritime wildlife crimes and smuggling, the Environment and Forest Ministry has announced the formation of a specially-trained Marine Elite Force.
For eliminating and removing alien and invasive plant species that are detrimental to local vegetation and forests, the government proposes to consult experts and take action. The government has announced that it would be allocating Rs.10 crore as funds for providing compensation for damages caused by wildlife on life and property.