Marine mammal strandings in the northern Palk Bay from 2009 to 2020

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Vedharajan Balaji
Veeramuthu Sekar


Globally, the marine mammal population has been under threat due to various human activities.  Data on stranding of these animals that are important for effective conservation planning and management, however, are not available in most of the developing countries.  This paper presents observations on marine mammal strandings in northern Palk Bay, the southeastern coast of India over the last decade.  In total, 21 stranding events consisting of 23 marine mammals were observed from 2009 to 2020.  These stranded mammals include a Humpback Dolphin, a Blue Whale, two Finless Porpoises, and 19 Dugongs.  The evident reason for the death of the dugongs and the porpoise being fishing activities, regulations on fishing practices, and intensive monitoring of the existing dugong population and their habitats are necessary.  This study recommends for establishment of conservation reserve, and setting up district-level marine mammal rescue and release units in Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, and Ramanathapuram districts, comprising fishers and line departments. These units need to be sufficiently equipped in terms of equipment and infrastructure, and periodical technical training and workshops on marine mammal rescue and release procedures to quickly respond and handle marine mammal strandings in the area.

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