The Gulf of Mannar is considered as “Biologists’ paradise” with over 4223 species of flora and fauna. The mangrove habitats in the Gulf of Mannar have 9 different species of vegetation supporting a variety of marine fauna including seabirds and sea snakes. More than 50000 migratory birds visit the National Park and Bird Sanctuaries. Ramanathapuram Forest, Envrionment & Climate Change Department oversees the following protected areas:
1. Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
2. Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve
3. Therthangal Bird Sanctuary
4. Sakkarakottai Birds Sanctuary
5. Melaselvanoor Keelaselvanoor Birds Sanctuary
6. Kanjirankulam Birds Sanctuary
7. Chitrangudi Birds Sanctuary Apart from this, there are 13 Mangrove Blocks, 4000 plus species , 110 Sq Km of Coral reef, etc.
Ramanthapuram is only district in Tamil Nadu which has Five Bird Sanctuaries and Three Ramsar Sites.
The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (Fig. 1) in the southeast coast of India is situated between Longitudes 78º08’E to 79º30’E extending from Rameswaram in the north to Kanyakumari in the south. It has a chain of 21 uninhabited islands stretching from Mandapam to Tuticorin to a distance of 160 km along the coast. The islands occur at an average distance of 2-10 km from the mainland. The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve was set up in 1989 by Government of India. It covers an area of 10,500 sq km between Rameswaram and Kanyakumari. The Government of Tamil Nadu in 1986 declared the 21 islands (Fig.2) and the surrounding shallow waters as Marine National Park for the purpose of protecting marine wildlife and its environment.
These 21 islands are divided into 4 groups based on their proximity to the mainland area. These four groups are Mandapam, Keelakarai, Vembar and Tuticorin groups. The Mandapam group consist of 7 islands (Shingle, Kurusodai, Pullivasal, Poomarichan, Manoli, Manoliputti and Hare), the Keelakarai group has 7 (Mulli, Valai, Thalaiyari, Appa, Poovarasanpatti, Valimunai and Anaipar), the Vembar group has 3 islands (Nallathanni, Puluvinichalli and Upputhanni) and the Tuticorin group has 4 (Kariyachalli, Vilanguchalli, Kasuwar and Van). This island chain starts from the south before Tuticorin, runs parallel to the shore and turns towards the north till Vembar and then towards the east side ending in Rameswaram.
Legal Status of the Proposed Project site
The 21 islands and the surrounding shallow coastal waters covering 560 sq km between Rameswaram and Tuticorin was declared as Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park vide G.O.Ms.No.962, Forests and Fisheries Dept. 10th September 1986.
The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (GOMBR) was established vide Governmentof India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, No. 1 / 6 / 80 dated 04.04.1989 coveringan area of 10,500 sq.km between Rameswaram andKanyakumari with Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park as its core area with 560 sq km.
High Value Biodiversity
The Gulf of Mannar is considered as “Biologists’ paradise” with over 4223 species of flora and fauna. The Gulf of Mannar is endowed with a rich variety of marine flora and fauna as it includes ecosystems like coral reefs, rocky shores, sandy beaches, mud flats, estuaries, mangrove forests, seaweed stretches and seagrass beds. These ecosystems support a wide variety of fauna and flora including rare chanks, shrimps, lobsters, pearl oysters, whales, dugongs, turtles, seahorses, sea snakes, sea cucumbers etc. The diverse nature of ecosystems in the Gulf of Mannar supports a wide variety of significant species including 117 species of corals, 14 species of seagrasses, 158 species of crustaceans, 856 species of molluscs, 1147 species of fin fishes, 153 species of echinoderms and 181 species of seaweeds apart from the seasonally migrating marine mammals like whales, dolphins, porpoises and turtles. The mangrove habitats in the Gulf of Mannar have 9 different species of vegetation supporting a variety of marine fauna including seabirds and sea snakes.
Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Coral polyps are the animals primarily responsible for building reefs. Corals are found in the 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. About 25% of the ocean’s fish depend on healthy coral reefs.
- Protection of Wildlife
- Habitat Restoration such as Coral reef, Sea grass, Mangrove , etc.
- Wetland Management
- Implementing District Climate Change Mission and Green Mission
- Implementation of Forest Conservation Act 1980, TN
Wildlife Warden, Ramanthapuram. Mobile:- 9445468452
ACF & EDO, Ramanathapuram Wildlife Division
Superitendent , Wildlife Division. Mobile:- 9445468473
RFO, Ramanathapuram. Mobile:-9445468472
RFO, Mandapam. Mobile:-9445468479
RFO, Keelkarai. Mobile:-9445468468
RFO, Tuticorin. Mobile:-9445468463