Gangetic Dolphin
Gangetic Dolphin

Endangered Gangetic dolphins makes it to nationwide project along the lines of project tiger, project elephant

ANI | Updated: Jul 09, 2020 00:39 IST

By Joymala Bagchi
New Delhi [India], July 9 (ANI): The Standing Committee of National Board for Wild Life has recommended for initiation of a dedicated project for the conservation of Gangetic dolphin.
The project on the endangered national aquatic animal, which falls under Scheduled-I of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, has been recommended on the lines of Project Tiger and Project Elephant of the Ministry.
This endangered national aquatic animal is one of the four freshwater dolphin species. It resides in the freshwaters of Ganges- Brahmaputra- Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
In India, it is found in deep river reaches in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Soumitra Dasgupta, Additional Director-General (wildlife), Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) told ANI, "There are certain species which are very important for the ecosystem, they have been categorised as endangered because their existence is in jeopardy now.
"Accordingly, 21 such species have been identified and the Gangetic dolphin is one of them. These species have been taken up for a nationwide project on the lines of project tiger and project elephant. This will be developed in a project mode, and we will be addressing all the negativities which is affecting the existence of this species," Dasgupta said
Dasgupta further said,"During and after the implementation, we will actually ensure the survival of the species and also the habitat where these species exists i.e. river, tributaries, distributaries of Ganges. It will eventually be a source for livelihood too for the people who are living in the vicinity of the river."
The Wildlife Institute of India has been entrusted with the project, it will start with the present population, midterm evaluation, and end-term evaluation.
"We have entrusted The Wildlife Institute of India to come up with the project. We have asked to submit the project immediately. After consulting the experts who are associated with this species and also the ministry this holistic project will be implemented in the country for the next 10 years," Dasgupta said.
Gangetic dolphins are essentially blind and hunt by emitting ultrasonic sounds. Among other reasons, its existence is threatened due to being entangled in fisherman's nets, rise in salinity level in the water, and frequent movements of boats in the river.
A report from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said that the individual population of Gangetic dolphins was estimated to be between 4,000 and 5,000 individuals in 1982. WWF also noted that the species is extinct from most of its early distribution ranges.
Unfortunately, the number of Gangetic dolphins surviving in India still remains unavailable.
The Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife met through video conference for its 58th meeting held on Friday. During this, important decisions were taken in the presence of experts, Chief Wildlife Wardens, and its members. (ANI)