The UK-based Whitley Fund for Nature in month of June 2013 provided a grant of 63 lakh rupees in the support of Bombay Natural History Society, India’s marine biodiversity conservation programme in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The continuation funding grant for developing giant clam species recovery plan and identifying potential sites for marine conservation reserves in the Andaman and Nicobar islands has been awarded to the Chief Operating Officer.
Bombay Natural History Society. The giant clam is an endangered species of clam found in the tropical coral reefs, including Indian waters. All the species of giant clam are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act.
The grant was awarded after rigorous review and discussion. On the other hand India's Ministry of Environment and Forests has also provided 27 lakh rupees to Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) for the giant clam studies in the Andaman.
It is important here to note that earlier in 2008, Apte bagged the Whitley Conservation Award by the Shears Foundation for exceptional work in the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) of Lakshadweep, India.
Besides, India has a two-year presidency for Convention on Biological Diversity, which took place in Hyderabad in October 2012, and considers marine and coastal biodiversity as one of its priority areas.
Conservation programme in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
• Under the Andaman-Nicobar Programme, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) aims to establish baseline data for both giant clam population ecology as well as establishment of profound understanding of the social fabric of these islands.
• This will be done by way of undertaking social and natural resource use mapping.
• BNHS also aims to arrange national legal consultation to identify gaps in existing conservation reserve policies. This data will form a strong scientific basis to be fed into the national species recovery plan for the giant clam.
• BNHS already has been conducting research and conservation activities regarding various aspects of marine life all along India’s coastline for over a decade. This includes study of the giant clam and coral reefs, Molluscan Taxonomy, other marine fauna, mangroves, tidal creeks and flora and fauna of inter-tidal habitats.
• Currently, regions covered by BNHS for this work include Gujarat, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep and Andaman-Nicobar.