BHUBANESWAR: Bouyed by Gharial breeding in the fresh waters of Mahanadi after about 40 years, the wildlife wing of the Forest department has decided to use drone cameras to maintain surveillance on the hatchlings. In addition, it has announced a cash incentive of Rs 1,000 for fishermen who catch the gharials or hatchling alive in their nets during fishing.
The Satkosia (wildlife) division and other divisions on both sides of the Mahanadi river have been asked to use drones to ensure protection of the hatchlings. CCTVs have been installed at strategic locations including Baladamara in Tikarpada range to observe their movement and enhance protection measures.
As part of the post nesting and flood arrangement, the DFO of Satkosia (WL) division has been assigned to track the movement of hatchlings by forming a special team and providing a boating facility. Since chances of hatchlings entering inside nullahs of the river are high, the monitoring team will take necessary steps to protect them. In case the hatchlings get swept away in the main river during rains, they will be rescued by a team which would be kept in readiness and handed over to authorities at Tikarpada.
With the reared gharials failing to survive in the gorge, the Satkosia (WL) division has been given the responsibility of ensuring their protection using technology. All DFOs on either side of the river Mahanadi have been asked to deploy staff to give information to the fishermen and collect gharial/hatchlings if caught alive in their net. The fishermen will be paid `1,000 for the purpose. This apart, fishing by blasting will be dealt with rigidly.
As many as 28 hatchlings from a nest were sighted by the officials and research team working for the revival of the gharial population in the river near Satkosia gorge in last week of May. The hatchlings were spotted at Baladamara area of the sanctuary.