April 1, 2021 1:24:41 am
TRANSLOCATED FROM Haji Ali to Navy Nagar in Colaba, 329 coral colonies of Pseudosiderastrea tayamai have survived and remained undisturbed. The Mangrove Foundation, under the state forest department along with National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), visited the Navy Nagar site on Wednesday on a monthly inspection of translocated corals.
The corals, identified on 194 rock boulders at Haji Ali site, were transported to the recipient site in a day, at Navy Nagar in November last year. The translocated corals were present in the alignment of the 10.58-km coastal road being constructed from Princess Street Flyover to Worli.
The translocated corals are tracked via GPS and are given numbers with plastic tags for easy identification. Virendra Tiwari, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Mangrove Cell), who visited the Navy Nagar site on Wednesday, said, “The location is a highly undisturbed area, supporting the diversity of corals. The corals translocated three months ago have survived.”
The species documented are hard corals and visible during low tide. Along the Mumbai coastline, corals are found across rocky patches, most of them fast-growing and non-reef building.
Fearing that the corals along Mumbai’s shore will not survive the shift, citizen groups took to social media to register their protest last year. Demanding cancellation of the translocation order, citizen groups took to Twitter and started a countrywide campaign using hashtags such as #CoralsBachao and #NoCoastalRoad.
The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) in Nagpur permitted the translocation of the coral colonies and stated that the chief engineer of the project (coastal road) should ensure adequate protection to the species and also monitor their survival and growth after translocation.
“Considering the ecology of coral species, existence of same species, suitability of habitat and access to the location, the recipient sites at Worli and Navy Nagar have been selected for the translocation of corals,” read the forest department report prepared by Harshal Karve, a marine biologist with Mangrove Foundation and Suresh Varak, range forest officer of Central Mumbai.
For the next one year, civic officials and NIO experts will visit new locations once a month to check on the corals.
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