Drishti Lifesavers recently concluded Annual Refresher Training on Marine Wildlife Rescue and Handling


Drishti Lifesavers recently concluded Annual Refresher Training on Marine Wildlife Rescue and Handling

“The lifesavers at Drishti Marine are trained in internationally accepted first response protocols designed to address live and dead stranded marine wildlife that wash up on the beaches”



Panaji, September 2022: Goa’s state – appointed lifesaving service Drishti Marine, recently held a training session for their 400 strong lifesaving force on marine wildlife (mammals/sea turtles) rescue and handling. The training is part of Drishti Marine’s annual refresher course which is held for all lifesavers in the monsoon months.


“The programme conducted for the lifesaving team over a period of two days is based on global standard procedures in rescue and handling of marine wildlife and carcasses. In addition to being educated in internationally recognised first response methods for dealing with stranded marine species that washes up on beaches, identification of different forms of marine creatures as well as their movement patterns are part of the training, “explained Navin Awasthi Operations Head at Drishti Marine.


“This annual refresher training is based on an initiative established by Goa Forest Department in 2017 in collaboration with IUCN-India & local social enterprise Terra Conscious to create a statewide Marine Wildlife Stranding Response & Monitoring Network in Goa. The initial trainings for the lifesavers were conducted by subject experts with support provided by IUCN-India. Since then, the network has grown over the past 5 years to include annual refresher trainings ; coordinating support provided by Drishti Marine Foundation. The Foundation also consults with species experts as well as veterinarians from Reefwatch India (who provide veterinary support to the Forest Dept), to provide guidance for timely response and support to the State Forest Department.” – Puja Mitra, Network Coordinator – Drishti Marine Foundation & Founder, Terra Conscious.


For the past several years, Drishti’s lifesavers who patrol Goa’s 105 km coastline are first responders to water – based rescues and medical emergencies and incidents that require human intervention. Additionally the force has taken on the responsibility of marine wildlife rescue and handling on the shoreline from 2017 onwards. This provides the necessary support to the State Forest Department.


Detailing the marine wildlife training modules, Santano Fernandes, Training Instructor, Drishti Marine added “The lifesavers have been trained in assigning codes that define whether the animal is alive and needs treatment or if it washes ashore dead, then to ascertain at what stage of decomposition it has reached. They have also been trained to take photographs and measurement of the carcass which can help identify the species, age, and gender of the marine animal. Furthermore, they are trained on how to safely lift , transport and handle sea turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds.”


There are different species of marine wildlife that have been reported from Goa’s coast including the residential species Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin (Sousa plumbea) and Finless Porpoise. Sea Turtle (reptile) species such as Olive Ridley, Hawksbill and Green Turtle have been reported from Goa’s coastline. Even snakes have been reported from the beaches, usually stuck in fencing or ghost nets as well as various species of pelagic birds.

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