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Pod of 30 dolphins spotted close to shores in Kumari
A pod of nearly 30 dolphins, which are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, made its way close to shore waters off Kovalam in Kanniyakumari district on Monday.
According to sources, it’s yet to identify the species, but it seemed a ‘rough-toothed dolphin.’ It’s a rare sighting in the Indian Ocean. It generally moves in an average of a pod of 10 to 30 and in deeper waters it could be up to 150 dolphins. Due to failure of echolocation, which such sea mammals used to navigate seas, these dolphins could have migrated to shallow shore waters. Such ones could have also migrated for feeding and breeding too.
In 2016, 73 short finned pilot whales washed ashore in Manapad, Thoothukudi district, but most of them were dead at last, sources said.
Assistant Director of Fisheries, Chinna Muttom, Mary Basil Bindhu, said the Forest Department personnel sought assistance from the Fisheries Department and demanded three fishing boats to drive those dolphins back to deep sea. The Fisheries Department was informed of this at around 11.30 am and the boats were arranged for them to protect the marine species, she said.
Boothapandy Forest Range Officer Dilipan said except for one dolphin all others apparently were alive. One dolphin was dead and buried after conducting post mortem. The Forest personnel were being engaged in driving those live dolphins into the sea with the help of three boats. However, many such dolphins are returning to shore and the personnel had been persistently trying to take them back into deep waters, he said.
Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj, when contacted, said it could be a habitat of such dolphins, a highly protected marine species under Schedule –I of the Wildlife Protection Act, with conditions of gentle sea currents. Dolphins could be spotted close to shores during January, February and March in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal owing to favorable sea conditions. Moreover, Niraj said awareness campaigns on dolphin conservation would be stepped up with the active participation of the coastal community. Many local residents were seen taking selfies with the pod across the shore.
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