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A CORAL REEF TALE GoI-UNDP-GEF Sindhudurg Project & Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra Forest Department


SAVING MR. RIDLEY

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How to use this book This book is to help children, teachers and others develop an interest in learning about the various creatures that dwell in the coastal and marine ecosystems, and understand the numerous threats to their existence. Though the narrative of the book is set in the Sindhudurg Coastal and Marine Ecosystem, the issues addressed here are of global significance. Through a mixture of story, information, and activity, the books aims to familiarise the reader with key marine species and encourage them to be environmentally conscious by addressing the threats to these species. It has been designed for K-3 to K-6 age groups (8 to 11 years) and can be used both individually and for adults and children to work together, to learn from the outdoors. Please note that some of the species names used in the story are in Marathi, the regional language of Maharashtra section of the book acts as a key to the biota found in the region and in this book. It would be best suited if the teacher/educator only acts as the facilitator, encouraging children to ask questions and to look for answers themselves, through observations from life, reading further on topics introduced in this book, and by talking to elders!

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Saving

Mr. Ridley BY DEEPTHI RADHAKRISHNAN

GoI-UNDP-GEF Sindhudurg Project & Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra Forest Department Publication

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In the watery gardens of the sea, lives a friend who is dear to me. Past the mangroves I

softly sail,

leaving behind the Sindhudurg Fort in my trail ...

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The oystercatcher, he brings word, of my dear friend, stuck in the ocean bed.

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I dive into the blue depths, and swim to the watery gardens. The sea anemones are in flower and

brightly coloured fish sail among corals red.

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“Do you know where my friend is?” I ask Kaasav Kaka. He just swims by with his shell so

green.

He’s not bothered as the Tangs are

nibbling him clean.

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So off I swim into the depths of the ocean blue, past coral colonies and

schools of fishes too.

Until I spot a helpful Sea Snake, “Swim further and

faster”, he says,

“for your friend’s sake”

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I swim further on and whom do I see? a gigantic Baba Blue Whale who nudges me, “There is much to be done to save your dear friend!

stuck under rubbish just past that bend. Clear up the debris and you’ll set him free. He’s

Clear up the debris, it

does not belong in the sea.”

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I reach the debris and pick up all that I can, each bottle, ghost net and all the plastics that I find. But alas! I see no sign of my friend!

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Fretting and frowning I curse our human race for all the

pollution and pain.

And just when I think that my efforts are in vain,

spot my friend the Olive Ridley Turtle struggling in a net, while wailing in pain!

I

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With a little help the Olive Ridley Turtle, crawls

happily

back into the watery gardens

blue!

And as I turn to head home Ray and Mushi Maushi

“You

spot me.

cleaned up our home and for that we thank you.� They gratefully bid me, adieu! PAGE 19


The

Key

The scuba diver in this book lives on the coast of the Sindhudurg District of Maharashtra, in India. Maharashtra has a mangrove coastline along Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Sindhudurg, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts. A mangrove is a type of tropical coastal vegetation. Small mangroves trees and shrubs growing the water or on land by the edge of the sea. The image shows mangroves growing in the tropics and subtropics all over the world.

to the

Mangroves...

Mangroves, also called halophytes, are salt tolerant trees adapted to life in harsh coastal conditions. To survive high salinity, mangroves either have roots specialized to reduce salt uptake or salt glands on leaves where excess salts are deposited and ejected when the leaves fall off. They have distinct features which help them survive in an environment without oxygen, which is hostile for other trees. Their root systems have pores called ‘lenticells’ through which they get necessary oxygen to function.

There are 72 true species of mangroves in the world. Some of the mangrove species found in Sindhudurg:

Mangrove swamps protect our coastal areas from erosion, especially during storms, hurricanes, and tsunamis. The mangroves’ massive root systems are good at diffusing wave energy. Their roots also form a suitable environment for algae and planktons which are also a food source for many crustaceans and fish, and these further attract other birds and animals.

Aegiceras corniculatum (Kajala, Karti, Sugandha)*

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Rhizophora mucronata (Kandal)* Sonneratia alba (Pandhari Chipi)* Avicennia officinalis (Tivar)* Ceriops tagal (Kirkiri)* Kandelia candel (Kandal-guriya)*

Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (Kankar)*

* All starred names are in ‘Marathi’ — the language spoken in the state of Maharashtra, India


...and the

Reef

The Olive Ridley Turtle in this book lives in a coral reef - the Angria Bank, that is located 120 kilometers off the coast of Maharashtra. There are many coral reefs in the world — you can see the areas in which they occur on the map - but the Angria Bank is one of the latest to be explored. This submerged plateau stretches across an area of 663 km2 and is rich in coral and related biota.

creatures often serve a vital purpose in ensuring their survival. For some, their appearance means they can hide effectively from predators, mimicking a rock or plant or simply blending into the background so they become almost invisible. For others, it is a means of attracting a mate or frightening away an enemy. Each creature has its own interesting story to tell, like the Olive Ridley turtle or the sea snakes.

All coral reefs owe their existence to colonies of millions of tiny creatures called coral polyps which are similar to sea anemons. They have soft, sac-like bodies around a bony skeleton and most often they live in great communities. When the polyps die, they leave behind their hard skeletons. Other polyps grow on top of the old ones and over the years a reef is formed. You can find out more about the many species included in this book by reading the key that follows. All the creatures If you walk into a garden, you might expect to see a few shown in the paintings are found in the Angria Bank coral animals and birds hiding in tree branches, snails under stones, reef and the Sindhudurg coast of Maharashtra — the insects hovering over flowers - but on the reef you would be Arabian Sea. surrounded by literally thousands of living things. Over 4000 species of fish alone are found in coral reefs around the world. There are other coral reefs around the world, scattered Butterfly fish, Emperor angelfish, Starry puffers, groupers in a band stretching between the Tropics of Cancer and and Black-blotched porcupine fish drift in brilliantly coloured Capricorn. Coral Reefs often have similar, but sometimes shoals through the coral gardens, while countless other marine unique inhabitants. Unfortunately, almost everywhere, coral animals hide amongst the rocks. A Red-knobbed sea star reefs are under threat. Pollution and over-fishing have both crawls over pink sponges; sea anemones wave their tentacles taken their toll, so now many reefs around the world are like strange flowers in the watery breeze, while in the depths protected in an attempt to preserve them and the creatures of the reef a fierce moray eel might be hiding in a coral cave. that live amongst them, for the future. You can find more about the reefs and what you can do to ensure their survival The brilliant colours and striking patterns of these reef at the back of the book.

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Sailing past forts and mangroves… As we sail the waves of the Arabian Sea on a wooden boat, it takes us past the Fort at Sindhudurg and the mangroves.

1. Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

The Eurasian Oystercatcher is a large and noisy bird, with strong broad red bills. They use their strong bills for smashing or prising open mussels or for finding earthworms. Despite its name, they do not eat oysters. They are migratory birds and can be found in Europe, Asia, northern Africa and New Zealand.

1. Sindhudurg Fort

The fortress is historical and occupies an islet in the Arabian Sea. It lies on the shore of Malvan town in the Sindhudurg District and dates back to 1664. It was built by a famous ruler of the Maratha Empire, Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

(Naav)* Wooden boats are used in many parts of India and the world over. They are handcrafted by artisans. The wooden boats used for fishing are better suited as a mode of transport across the seas if you wish to go scuba diving. They are not noisy like motorized boats and do not disturb the fish. 2. Fishing Boats

(Heritiera littoralis) – (Sundari)* The looking-glass mangrove is a large tree with wing shaped nuts, which is found abundantly in the Sunderban regions of West Bengal. On the west coast of India, this tree is only found in Sindhudurg. Like all mangrove trees, this tree, too, provides shelter to hundreds of coastal and marine animals. 3. Looking-glass Mangrove

The Oystercatchers! These beautiful noisy birds are a rare sight near the Indian Subcontinent. With black and white plumage, red legs and sights of hope, they carry news of a friend who is in need of help... PAGE 22

(Ardea intermedia) These fine plumed birds are medium sized, have white feathers, long legs and an orange bill. They live and hunt in shallow waters, including flooded fields, looking for fishes, frogs, crustaceans and insects. 2. Intermediate Egret

Mr. Green arrives… The ocean is full of strange partnerships between creatures where each side benefits in some way from living with or near the other. These symbiotic relationships help ensure the continued survival of some species and improve the health of others.

(Chelonia mydas) – (Kaasav)* Unlike most reptiles, the green turtle is entirely vegetarian, feeding mainly on seaweed. These remarkable marine creatures have been known to travel thousands of miles from their nesting beaches to feeding sites. They spend most of their life in the open sea, but the females come ashore to lay their eggs. They do this under cover of darkness, digging a hole in the sandy beaches above the tide mark where up to 100 eggs are then laid. These eggs are cafefully covered with sand and will hatch some ten weeks later, the young turtles scrambling in a dangerous journey back to the water. The females 1. Green Sea Turtle

* All starred names are in ‘Marathi’ — the language spoken in the state of Maharashtra, India


continue to return to the same beach each year later to lay their eggs. The green sea turtle is listed as endangered and is protected from exploitation in most countries.

(Zebrasoma flavescens) They belong to the family called Acanthuridae or surgeonfishes. These bright yellow fish feed on algae. The Yellow Tangs and the Green Sea Turtle share a mutually beneficial relationship. The tangs eat algae and parasites off the turtle’s skin, cleaning the shell. While the turtle gets a free spa, the tangs are provided with a rich meal in one spot, saving them energy and protecting them from the risk of stumbling across enemies while grazing the reef. 2. Yellow Tangs

(Favites) This coral forms great brain-like lumpy clumps with curious ridges all over its surface. They have a long life and some of the larger brain corals live up to 900 years! They often form the foundation of coral reefs. While widespread and common, like many corals they are under threat from human activities. 3.Brain Coral

(Heterodactyla hemprichii) These look like strange flowers anchored to the reef rocks. They use their inward-folding tentacles to pass food towards their central mouth and, if frightened, withdraw them so they are left looking like a blob of jelly. 4. Sea Anemone

(Petasometra clarae) They may look like strange plants but Feathrestar are a type of animal. Although they can use their long arms to swim, these creatures very rarely move, spending most of their lives anchored to the reef where they filter seawater for microscopic particles of food. 5. Crinoid Featherstar

(Arothron stellatus) The pufferfish is one of a group of fish that have developed a rather ingenious way of protecting themselves from danger. Rather than relying on camouflage or poisonous spikes, these fish can gulp water so rapidly that their bodies swell up into little balls many times the size of the fish that seconds before may have looked like a tasty morsel. The only problem with this is that, once inflated, the puffer fish cannot move. It has to wait several minutes before it can expel 6. Stellate Pufferfish

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all the water and swim away!

(Tetraclita sp.) Although they look like shellfish, barnacles are much more closely related to crabs and shrimps. They begin their life as larvae, spending their time swimming through the sea until they change into their adult form. Then they attach themselves to rocks, shells, dead coral or even the surface of passing whales or turtles, where they spend the rest of their lives. To feed, the barnacle thrusts out tiny leg-like appendages called cirri between the hard plates of its shell. These cirri are covered in fine bristles which pick up microscopic bits of food when they are wafted through the seawater. 7. Acorn Barnacle

(Pomacanthus imperator) Also known as the Imperial Angelfish, this fish is one of the most striking on the reef. It has a dark mask around its eyes and a body covered in yellow stripes which are thought to lead any predator’s eye away from its delicate head area. Young angelfish are more camouflaged with their covering of blue and white stripes. Adults can often be seen queuing up for their turn with a cleaner fish. 8. Emperor Angelfish

(Heniochus acuminatus) The Pennant Coral Fish are gracious looking creatures and are also called Featherfin Coralfish. These reef fish likes relatively deep waters but they are intensively harvested for the aquarium industry, especially in the Philippines. 9. Pennant Coral Fish

(Acanthuridae) The Surgeonfish is named for its sharp, blade-like spine ahead of its tail. It belongs to the Acanthuridae family which consists of Surgeonfishes, Tangs, and Unicornfishes. The family includes about 86 species. The family consists of marine fish living in tropical seas, usually around coral reefs. Many from this species are beautiful and brightly coloured fish. 10. Surgeonfish

(Protoreaster linckii) This vertibrate is active during the daytime. It has a grey body with red stripes that connect the tubercles. It eats soft corals, sponges and even other starfish! 11. Red-knobbed Sea Star

(Pseudanthias squamipinnis) The lyretail anthias, commonly known as the sea goldie is a colourful species of fish which loves to swim near coral outcrops. 12. Lyretail Anthias

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They are a popular muse for underwater photographers, as these fish swim around gracefully in large groups, making it easy for the photographers to spot them!

(Turbinaria mesenterina) Also known as folded lettuce coral, the Turbinaria mesenterina is a reef-building coral, its colonies forming thin, overlapping, greygreen or grey-brown plates. The plates may be variable in shape, depending on water depth and hence light availability, with those in shallow areas highly contorted and fused, those on upper reef slopes more upright and tiered, and those in deep water usually horizontal. 13. Lettuce Coral

(Cephalopholis nigripinnis) Characterized by red color grading to dark brown on posterior part of the body, they common throughout its range. The species inhabits coral-rich areas and feeds on small fishes and crustaceans. 14. Redfin Grouper

15. Plankton

Plankton is a diverse collection of organisms (including plants and animals) that can be found floating in the ocean with the tides and currents. They get their name from the Greek word planktos, which means wanderer or drifter. Planktons a crucial source of food to many large aquatic organisms, such as fish and whales.

In the watery gardens… In this little coral grotto the sunlight filters through the shallow water revealing a colourful undersea ‘garden’. Bright flowers seem to grow from the rocks, but look closer and you’ll see these are in fact tiny creatures sea slugs with their strange shapes and vivid colours, sea worms and anemones with tentacles as brightly coloured as any petal, and the frills and spikes of countless types of coral, each one a collection of tiny polyps. Brighter still are the coral-loving fish, flitting brilliantly back and forth like underwater butterflies with their striking patterns and glistening scales - all part of a coral carnival under the Sea!

(Hydrophis schistosus) – (Samudri Saap)* The sight of snakes send shivers down our spines, and even these beautiful water-dwelling serpents are venomous. These Sea Snakes have a flattened end which serves as a paddle that propels them through the water more efficiently. Unlike terrestrial snakes, these 1. Hook-Nosed Sea Snake


sea snakes develop the eggs within the mother; with her giving birth in the water, saving her the trouble of going on to dry land and making herself vulnerable to predators in the process. However, Sea Snakes often get trapped in fishermen nets as by-catch or unwanted catch.

Ocean. The young ones are striped black and the stripes in the tail turn into black dots as they grow older. They belong to a species in the order Perciformes, commonly known as ‘Grunts’. They can be found on both coral and rock reefs at depths from 2 to 25 m (6.6 to 82.0 ft).

(Chaetodon collare) These beauties are commonly found near coral reefs and are admired by divers for its graceful movements. The red-tailed butterflyfish is not intimidated by divers and are a popular choice for marine aquariums.

5. Vagabond Butterflyfish

2. Red-tailed Butterflyfish

(Zanclus cornutus) Similar in looks to the Pennant Coral fish, the Moorish Idol is a widely recognizable coral reef fauna. The Moorish Idol got its name from the Moors of Africa, and is believed to be a bringer of happiness. They like eating corals and sponges, and are extremely difficult to keep in an aquarium. 3. Moorish Idol

(Plectorhinchus vittatus) These are native to the Indian Ocean and to the western Pacific 4. Oriental Sweetlips

(Chaetodon vagabundus) So called because their bright colours and patterns often resemble the wings of butterflies, these fish have delicately pointed snouts for searching out food hidden in the coral. (Gymnothorax isingteena) This Eel lives a solitary life in coral reef crevices and outcrops. The Moray Eel is carnivore and a good hunter. It can often be seen protruding its head from shelter and likes to eat fish, octopuses, squid, crabs... 6. Spotted Moray Eel

(Labroides dimidiatus) This underwater cleaner performs a very important job for much larger fish such as the Emperor Angelfish, picking parasites and other unwanted rubbish from the scales. Even though the Cleaner 7. Cleaner Wrasse

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Wrasse could easily be eaten by its host, the regular cleaning service it offers is much more valuable than a quick mouthful of food some big fish will not only stay still in order to be cleaned but will even stop breathing whilst the wrasse cleans its gill linings. The cleaner is rewarded with a good meal!

be spotted swimming upright in pairs with their tails linked together. Seahorses range in size from 1.5 to 35.5 cm (0.6 to 14.0 in) and are poor swimmers. They are very good at hiding from predators and they can mimic the colour of underwater plants. Seahorses are the only species in which the male seahorse bears the unborn young.

(Heteractis percula) The anemone uses its stinging tentacles to stun its prey of tiny fish The beautiful Blue whale… and other small sea creatures, but does not seem to mind harbouring the little clownfish in return for sharing its meals. The anemone will pick up and ingest any tiny particles that are carried away in water from whatever its fishy friends have caught. Some anemones of this kind can grow over a metre (over 3 feet) in width and can live for over 100 years once established. 8. Magnificient Sea Anemone

(Clark’s anemonefish) Unlike other small reef fish, the Yellowtail clownfish are immune to the anemone’s sting thanks to a special mucus that coats their scales. Instead they get some protection from their enemies by living amongst these stinging ‘flowers’ and in return any food particles 1. Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) – (Devmaasa)* they drop get passed on to their host. There are several different The Blue Whale is a gracious and gigantic marine mammal. The types of anemonefish and several fish may live together on one Blue Whale is the largest animal to have ever lived on earth, even ‘host’. bigger than the largest dinosaurs known to man! The long and slender Blue Whale has a bluish-grey appearance, and is a graceful 10. Giant Grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus) swimmer. Despite its size, the Blue Whale’s diet includes small The giant grouper is also known as the brindlebass or brown marine creatures such as the Krill (small crustaceans). For years, the spotted cod. It is found from near the surface to depths of 100 m Blue Whales were brutally hunted, because of which there are only a (330 ft) at reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific region. It is the largest few thousands of them alive today. They are an endangered species bony fish found in coral reefs. and it is illegal to harm them. 11. Schoolmaster Snapper Fish (Lutjanus apodus) It is a colorful fish found over coral reefs. As the common name suggests, schoolmaster snapper live in groups of dozens of subjects. A very tangled turtle... They keep a short distance from the sea floor at depths between 10 and 90 ft, prefer the cover provided by coral reefs during the day, and expand their range to seagrass beds at night. 9. Yellowtail Clownfish

12. Seahorse

Seahorses are easily identifiable by their head and neck, which looks like a horse, and a curled tail, which can grasp or hold objects, like the monkey (a curled prehensile tail). They prefer sheltered areas, and are often found near corals, seagrasses or mangroves. They can

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* All starred names are in ‘Marathi’ — the language spoken in the state of Maharashtra, India


(Lepidochelys olivacea) – (Kaasav)* The Olive Ridley turtles live in warm and tropical waters, spending most of their lives in the open ocean. They sometimes venture into bays and estuaries. They have an olive coloured shell that covers its body. These turtles are good swimmers and can swim long distances. The female Olive Ridley turtles return to the same beach where they took birth, for laying their eggs. The Olive Ridley turtles are an endangered species as they are often trapped in fishing nets. One of the biggest threats to Olive Ridley turtles is the degradation of the beaches which are their nesting sites, which is happening in India. 1. Olive Ridley Turtle

2. Seaweeds/Kelps

Seaweeds are a form of algae, but they look like plants underwater and even breathe like terrestrial plants do – by the process of photosynthesis. It is estimated that almost 70% of the world’s oxygen comes from seaweeds! Kelps are large brown seaweeds and are found in “underwater forests”. Several marine creatures feed on seaweed, and it is also consumed by humans in many parts of the world. In Sindhudurg, seaweed ‘pakoda’ is a savoured delicacy!

The Shark & Ray say goodbye!

(Aetobatus narinari) The Spotted Ray is a fish that looks like a very large ‘flying kite’ and can be identified by its dark surface covered in white spots or rings. It is sometimes spotted digging with their snouts to look for food buried in the sand of the sea bed. When chased, they may even leap out of the water like a dolphin. Their whip-like tail can grow two to three times the length of their disc shaped body. 2. Spotted Eagle Ray

Our Marine Friends… The Olive Ridley Turtle in this story, managed to escape with the help from his scuba diver friend. However, in our oceans and seas there are many more wonderful species that are constantly under threat from human activity. Along with the Turtle, the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin, the Finless Porpoise and the Mangrove Crab (Scylla serrata- an important Arthropod) are some of the globally significant species found along the Sindhudurg coast. Our marine friends need many more champions like the scuba diver. Read on to find out how you could help protect our oceans and marine friends!

(Squalus acanthias) – (Mushi)* The Spiny Dogfish is one of the most abundant species of shark in the world! Squalus acanthias is distinguished by having two spines (one anterior to each dorsal fin) and lacks a rear fin. They are bottom-dwellers and live on the sea bed up to 100 years. 1. Spiny Dogfish Shark

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Activity 1: You could be a scuba diver! Find out what equipment you need and a few of the hand signals used by divers.

Regulator Second Stage

Diving Lamp Diving Mask

Diving Gloves

Snorkel

Diving Fins

Diving Gauge Wet Suit

Regulator First Stage SCUBA Tank

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DOES THE WET SUIT FIT YOU?

You could draw your face into the scuba diver’s suit and see if it fits you!!

Diving underwater… Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving where the diver carries equipment that helps breathe under water. It is a selfcontained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) which is not dependent on air supply from outside. Scuba diving is growing as a profession in the Sindhudurg region. However, you should get trained and be scuba-certificated in order to pursue it as a profession. Scuba diving opens up a world of colourful species under the sea. To protect these marine friends, it is important to be a responsible diver. Whether you are a tourist, plan to be a scuba diving guide, or open your own dive centre, make sure you follow your local administration’s rules and regulations for underwater diving. This will go a long way in conserving the unique biodiversity of Sindhudurg.

DIVER’S HAND SIGNALS

STOP

OKAY

MOVE UP

MOVE DOWN

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Activity 2: How long will it take? It takes just a moment for an item to be carelessly discarded or blown by the wind into the ocean, but it takes many, many, many years for that item to completely decompose. Test your knowledge about decomposition times. Draw a line between each item in the big bubble, to its corresponding decomposition time (coloured bubbles). How many years will it take for these items to decompose in the Ocean? **The answers are at the back of the book

NEVER!! 450 YEARS 10 YEARS

4000 YEARS

100 - 1000 YEARS

FEW MONTHS

50 YEARS

200 YEARS

600 YEARS

1 - 2 WEEKS

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10 - 20 YEARS


wildlife agencies and conservation organisations, the tourist industry can assist in setting up marine parks where reefs are Some of the Earth’s coral reefs have existed for many cared for and properly managed. Tour guides can also help to thousands of years,forming slowly as coral colonies build up educate tourists understand the importance of coral reefs, and on top of one another. Sadly, many reefs are being destroyed at to care about their future. a much faster rate than it takes them to grow.

Coral Reef alert!

Natural events such as hurricanes can reduce reefs to rubble in minutes. While predators such as the infamous Crown-ofThorns starfish eat away at the corals, leaving only the bony skeletons behind, the greatest threat of all to the reefs comes from humans ...

There are many organisations and agencies set up around the world dedicated to the conservation and protection of corals. In Sindhudurg, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India and Mangrove Cell of the Maharashtra Forest Department have implemented a project for protecting the coastal and marine ecosystem. It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Changes to the world’s climate caused by global warming can cause the sea to heat up and corals are sensitive to even http://www.in.undp.org/content/india/en/home/operations/ the slightest change in temperature. If the water gets too projects/environment_and_energy/mainstreaming-coastalwarm, corals turn white (an effect known as ‘bleaching’), and, and-marine-biodiversity-into-production-se.html although they may recover, very often the reef simply dies. The beautiful colours that corals have are because of zooxanthellae. When corals are under environmental stress, like the change in water temperature, they release their zooxanthellae and turn white. This is not a healthy sign. Pollution can poison the coral and its inhabitants, sewage and fertilisers can increase the growth of seaweeds and algae which cover the coral in a suffocating carpet, and changes in land use often lead to reefs silting up or seawater becoming murky, cutting out the sunlight which is so vital for corals to grow. Another problem comes from collectors, who roam the reefs taking corals, shells, fish and other creatures to sell for souvenirs or for aquarium trade. In some places, coral is also mined from reefs and used to build houses or roads! Finally, tourism can have a negative effect, as corals are easily damaged by trampling feet or anchoring boats, and polyps can be destroyed simply by being touched. However, although tourism can damage reefs, it can also play a constructive role in saving corals. Working together with PAGE 31


What can you do to protect Coral Reefs? 1. Being a Responsible Tourist

7. Littering can also cause harm or even kill

Snorkel and scuba dive with care.

the fish that populate coral reefs.

2. Don’t touch the corals Corals on reefs are small, fragile animals. They are not mobile. Corals live in colonies, and possess skeletons of hard calcium carbonate, which is what gives the coral reef its structure. You can damage corals simply by touching them.

The technical term for this kind of litter is “marine debris.” Marine debris also damages other organisms on coral reefs that are necessary for their survival. Do not throw waste on to beaches or into the ocean and seas.

3. Remember the feet!! Control your flippers when diving or snorkeling so you don’t accidentally touch a coral.

4. Don’t ever pull a piece of coral to take with you They say you should leave only bubbles and take only pictures when you are in the ocean.

5. Don’t purchase coral souvenirs You shouldn’t take anything out of the ocean that’s alive, or buy it in a store, either. In some countries, you will find jewellery and other souvenirs made out of coral. Don’t buy them.

Answers to Activity 2 PLASTIC SPOONS & FORKS — 100 1000 YEARS* DIAPERS — 450 YEARS FISH HOOKS & LINES — 600 YEARS CIGARETTES — 10 YEARS

6. Don’t leave litter on the beach or in the ocean Leaving behind things like fishing nets or general garbage on a beach can harm corals and marine life. Throwing litter into the ocean itself can eventually cause the rubbish to come into contact with the coral reef. When rubbish ends up on a coral reef, it can actually smother the corals. Remember, they are living organisms. PAGE 32

GLASS - 4000 YEARS ALUMINIUM CANS - 200 YEARS PLASTIC BAGS - 10- 20 YEARS* SOME PLASTICS - NEVER!!* STYROFOAM CUPS - 50 YEARS BANANA PEEL - 1-2 WEEKS * Plastic never fully decomposes. Over time it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces called micro-plastic!!


UNDP India, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the Mangrove Cell of Maharashtra Forest Department, has implemented a Project for protecting the Sindhudurg Coastal and Marine Ecosystem (SCME), financed by the Global Environment Facility. From 2012 to 2017, the Project worked extensively to generate awareness among local communities, particularly fishing communities, on biodiversity conservation amidst the threat of unsustainable fishing practices, rising pollution from fishing vessels and maritime traffic in the region. The conceptualization, design and production of this book follows the work of the Project in SCME in a collaborative approach and effort by the team at UNDP India, Mangrove Cell (Maharashtra) and designer-illustrator Deepthi Radhakrishnan. The UNDP Team Framework, Content Advice & Editing N VASUDEVAN, IFS (Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Mangrove Cell and Nodal Officer, Sindhudurg Project) Dr SUBIR GHOSH (Project Coordinator, Sindhudurg Project) ADITI TANDON (UN Volunteer, Communications Associate, Sindhudurg Project) SNEHA PILLAI (UN Volunteer, Outreach and Monitoring Associate, Sindhudurg Project) AVADHOOT VELANKAR (UN Volunteer, Conservation Biologist, Sindhudurg Project) Concept, Content, Design & Illustration DEEPTHI RADHAKRISHNAN

Š 2017 GoI-UNDP-GEF Sindhudurg Project & Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra Forest Department and Deepthi Radhakrishnan

Saving Mr Ridley  

This book is to help children, teachers and others develop an interest in learning about the various creatures that dwell in the coastal and...

Saving Mr Ridley  

This book is to help children, teachers and others develop an interest in learning about the various creatures that dwell in the coastal and...

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