Koraput is a rich reservoir of biodiversity with many species of organisms still unknown to the scientific world.
With a threat of extinction looming over coral reefs, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has envisaged monitoring of plots for coral reef ecosystems, and for restoration it has adopted a method of translocation of coral reefs to help them breed in certain areas that allow proper growth conditions.
The coral reefs are facing threats from activities that include coastal development, destructive fishing methods and pollution from domestic and industrial sewage. Studies have predicted that coral reefs may disappear in the next 40 years from the Indo-Malayan Region unless conservation measures are in place.
The ZSI plans to monitor plots for coral reef ecosystems in India. The monitoring and restoration are envisaged in coral ecosystems in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Gulf of Kutch and Gulf of Mannar as well as Malvan.
Ahead of the ZSI Foundation Day on 1 July, the director of the organisation, Dr Dhriti Banerjee, commenting on the prevailing level of threat to coral ecosystems told The Statesman today, that various factors are affecting the marine environment such as coral bleaching, loss of coral species, the gradual warming of the waters and acidification of ocean waters. These are destroying the coral reefs.
“The Zoological Survey of India is not only monitoring these but has successfully trans-located corals from the Gulf of Mannar and has been able to relocate them to the Gulf of Kutch. The corals are breeding well in these areas. Today, the importance of biodiversity conservation is not a standalone issue. It has to go hand in hand with development which needs to be sustainable” she said. She explained, “In case a pipeline has to be laid underwater, we will have to explore options as to where the coral reefs will be relocated.”
Commenting on whether any recommendations were presented to the Indian government that may help form policies to reduce harm to marine ecosystems, often adversely impacted by oil spills from ships, she said “ We are suggesting solutions to the government but ZSI has its limitations. We suggested areas that should be looked into and how the affected corals there can be saved while finding the reason for their degradation.”
The ZSI, on its upcoming Foundation Day, is all set to release the animal and plant discoveries it made in 2021 while also release publications on faunal diversity in the Deccan Peninsula, in Satkosia Tiger Reserve and on birds of India.