The Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve has proposed to introduce ecotourism in the mangrove forest area.

Objective of the project
The project had been drawn to promote ecotourism in the lush green mangrove forest region, create awareness of importance of conservation of dugong, an endangered marine mammal, and provide alternative livelihood to the local fishermen.

About the project
During boat ride, tourists could traverse through the thickly grown mangroves, nestled in the backwaters, natural river mouth and creeks. In snorkelling, the tourists would be exposed to the sea grass beds, the habitats of dugong in the shallow waters of the Palk Bay, as part of Dugong Conservation and Awareness Programme.

About Dugong (or Sea cow)
The dugong is the only strictly marine herbivorous mammal. The dugong is largely dependent on seagrass for subsistence. Sea grass is a marine flowering plant. Sea cow is an endangered species.

About Mangroves
A mangrove is a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water.  The term is also used for tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species. Mangroves are salt tolerant trees, also called halophytes, and are adapted to life in harsh coastal conditions.