Conserve marine ecosystem, students told

October 05, 2021 08:06 pm | Updated 08:06 pm IST - THOOTHUKUDI

Students from two colleges witnessed underwater marine life through snorkelling.

As the Wildlife Week is being celebrated by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department with awareness programmes from October 2 to 8, an underwater marine life awareness campaign was conducted at Vaan Island in Gulf of Mannar on Tuesday in association with Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute (SDMRI), Thoothukudi.

Sixty participants including 32 students with zoology and marine science background from Kamaraj College, Thoothukudi, St. Xavier’s College, Tirunelveli, and SDMRI participated in this campaign.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Chennai, Akash Deep Baruah, inaugurated the campaign and stressed the need to get involved in conservation and management of marine ecosystem and associated biodiversity. This is the first time that Forest Department is organising an awareness campaign at Vaan Island, located in the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park (GOMMNP) for students to motivate them in the marine conservation, he said. He urged them to propagate the message of marine ecosystem conservation and take up research in this field.

Conservator of Forests and Field Director, Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve N. Senthil Kumar explained the objective behind creating Marine Biosphere Reserves and its role in conservation and protection of marine organisms and their environment.

Demonstrations on Scuba diving techniques by professionals led by K. Diraviya Raj from SDMRI were held and the participants were trained in snorkelling. The participants could witness the underwater marine life in particular seagrass beds and associated biodiversity like sea cucumber, star fish, sea anemone, clown fishes using snorkelling and were thrilled to see them live in the natural environment.

The participants collected plastics washed ashore as part of the programme. The forest department issued certificates to the participants.

Abhishek Tomar, District Forest Officer and Wildlife Warden, GOMMNP T. Charusree, Commissioner, Thoothukudi Corporation and J.K. Patterson Edward, Director, SDMRI, participated in the programme.

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