16-11-2017 10:30 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Joint efforts of lifeguards and forest department help to save stranded animals
Goa’s waters are rich in marine wildlife with Olive Ridley, green turtles, humpback dolphins and finless porpoises frequenting the water often. However, sometimes marine animals are found stranded on the shores, and without timely help, they succumb.
For years, the forest department has been doing a commendable job rescuing, attending to and documenting stranded marine animals on Goa's coast. Now with Drishti lifeguards scattered across Goa's beaches pitching in, the response time has been considerably reduced.
The lifeguards and forest department were brought together at a workshop conceptualized by Terra Conscious, a conservation-oriented social enterprise promoting responsible marine and coastal tourism. It was also and supported byInternational Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN India) where 150 participants were trained how to respond to live stranding or deaths.
Since then, Drishti Marine has reported over 20 marine wildlife strandings (turtles and dolphins), all Schedule I Species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. They follow proper safety protocols—such as wearing gloves—to reduce the risk of disease exchange and injury.
Lifeguards sometimes dive in, untangle turtles from the net, look for injuries and hand them over to the forest department. They play an important role in maintaining a distance between the stranded animal and the curious crowd so as not to scare the animal and avoid any infection from being transmitted.
Once the forest department is alerted, its team takes over the rescue operation and extends medical aid with the help of a government vet. Conservator of forests, wildlife, Anil Kumar said, "This new arrangement, where lifeguards are assisting us, has helped reduce the response time and ensured that the stranded animals receive the immediate attention they deserve.”