Goa has long since been known for a lot of things. History, culture, heritage, a laidback ambiance and so much more are part of the package deal that is Goa when looking for a fantastic holiday spot. But besides the usual tourism-related activities, there’s loads more in terms of the flora and fauna that India’s tiniest state has to offer. In fact, Goa is one of the few locations in the country where marine life like the Olive Ridley turtles come to nest. And since they are an endangered species of marine life, assistance is always required to help keep them safe. Not to forget that there’s always been a need to rescue even other marine life that has or could get stranded on our beaches.
Learning how to rescue distressed marine life which washes ashore along Goa’s coast
In a collaboration with Terra Conscious, the Goa Forest Department, Drishti Marine recently went through a series of workshops at the lifeguard centers in Candolim and Benaulim. These workshops were supported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Mangroves for the Future.
The idea behind these workshops was to teach all first responders on how to better manage the rescue and handling of marine carcasses that wash ashore along Goa’s 105-km coastline. All 600 lifeguards, as well as 43 forest department officials, participated in these workshops. They were trained to be first responders in the rescue of distressed marine life that get stranded on our beaches.
Terra Conscious conducted the workshops at the lifeguard centers in Candolim and Benaulim
Terra Conscious conducted the workshop using interactive presentations, videos and practical demonstrations to show how people can do their bit in helping to rescue marine life along Goa’s shores. The lifeguards were briefed also on the marine life which exists along the country’s west coast with an emphasis on Goa. They can now recognize species of marine mammals and turtles, as well as their carcasses when they found on the beaches.
The subject of recording necessary data on the prevailing marine life in an accurate manner was also touched upon. After all, it is this data that plays a major part in ensuring that the marine life remains unharmed and for future conservation action. The data includes recording the location, time, condition of the animal, measurements of the carcass and type of sea creatures that are stranded. It also accounts for the process of rescuing the mammal or turtle without injury.
As Puja Mitra, Founder and Director, Terra Conscious said, “The previous year, we had trained only 150 lifeguards and we received a tremendous response. Hence, this year we decided to train the entire lifeguard force. This initiative is very unique, where a partnership has been created between government, private sectors and NGOs to save marine life. Drishti Marine lifeguards are like a second pair of eyes for the Forest Department and protocols have been followed. Drishti Marine will be keeping necessary equipment such as gloves, measuring tapes (provided by IUCN-India) and masks in every lifeguard tower to ensure protocols are followed.”
Ravi Shankar, CEO, Drishti Marine, said, “Drishti Marine lifeguards are the frontline responders to marine wildlife along the coastal belt of Goa and can assist the Goa Forest Department in rescuing and collecting accurate records of the incidents that occur on the coastal stretch and handing it over to the department. The lifeguards genuinely want to help the stranded animals and were more than willing to be trained in how to rescue them. They want to make a difference and help and it just gets that much more interesting when it’s done as part of the job.”