Maharashtra Mangrove Cell has written to the State Government to allot them a suitable piece of land near either Juhu or Versova beach for setting up Mumbai’s first rescue and medical aid center for turtles and other marine mammals found stranded on the beaches of Mumbai.Prashant Deshmukh, Range Forest Officer (RFO), Mangrove Cell said that as a majority of stranding of marine mammals happen on the Western coast it was decided to build a fully equipped marine rescue center in Mumbai where these mammals can be treated and released back in the sea.”We began scouting for a 1200 square meter plot and found two suitable locations at Juhu beach itself – one near the Shivaji statue and another near the garden close to the main entrance. We have also found a piece of land near Versova beach close to the Versova police beat chowky,” he said adding that the land at Versova belongs to Mumbai Maritime Board and they have even written to them for allotting the land. Juhu remains the first preference, though.Deshmukh shared that they have been regularly following it up with both the authorities and are hopeful that the land will be allotted by either January or early February. “Once we get the land it will only take a month for us to set up the centre,” he said.Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF) Mangrove Cell, N Vasudevan said, “The centre will have four tanks that can accommodate injured turtles and even a dolphin if required. There will be separate holding tanks especially for turtles and they can even be tested for their swimming abilities before releasing them in the sea in the bigger tanks. The center will also feature a fully equipped operation theatre with important equipments like X-ray machines and other facilities for carrying out treatment of injured marine mammals.”

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Rescue centre for beached mammals awaits State’s nod