Use drones in Gahirmatha for safety of Olive Ridleys, dolphins: Experts

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Kendrapara: Experts who study turtles and dolphins Olive Ridley have pointed to the need to use drone cameras to monitor turtle nesting grounds and activities that harm sea creatures.

Reports indicate that the State Department of Forestry and Environment recently conducted a census of dolphins in the Bhitarkanika marine area. A total of 540 dolphins have been found in the area.

The number is 37 percent higher than the previous year. Among them were 15 spinner dolphins and 135 bottleneck dolphins.

Interestingly, only 22 bottleneck dolphins were sighted during the count in 2021 as their numbers increased five times more than the previous count.

The area is also an ideal home for endangered olive ridley sea turtles.

However, several factors have posed threats to this endangered marine species throughout its life cycle – from migration, mating to nesting and the return of baby turtles to the sea.

Every year, thousands of turtles invade the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary to breed. Experts and conservationists were of the opinion that the safety of these sea creatures should be the department’s top priority.

“Aerial surveillance of nesting sites, their movements, the dangers during migration, research on coastal erosion can be done using drones. Data collected during monitoring can be used to find effective solutions,” they added.

Secretary of Gahirmatha Samudrika Kainchha O Hentalabana Surakhya Samiti Hemant Kumar Rout, its Vice President Prabhuprasad Mohapatra, President of Jana Adhikar Abhijan Bhubanmohan Jena, Lecturer Khitish Kumar Singh and Dr. PN Gourang pointed out that the population of marine species like dolphins and olive ridley turtles is in decline. worldwide, but their numbers are increasing in the Gahirmatha region, spanning 27 square miles out to sea.

More than 5 lakh turtles have laid eggs this season, it was said. However, thousands of turtle eggs were damaged due to crashing waves at Nasi-II’s nesting ground.

Coastal erosion is one of the factors affecting turtle nesting here, they said. In addition, thousands of turtles must die for various reasons, but the cause of death is not monitored, they lamented.

They suggested there was a need to use high-tech drones to also monitor the activities and movements of turtles and dolphins.

DFO JD Pati said there is currently no provision to place the vast marine area under drone camera surveillance, but the proposal could be considered for next year.

NPN

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