[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Plan to save the Ganges dolphin


Save dolphin campaign: Uttar Pradesh's dolphins can flip and jump in joy

By Akash Vashishtha

PUBLISHED: 15:57 EST, 24 September 2012 | UPDATED: 15:57 EST, 24 September 2012

Dolphins don't look good listless and lifeless. The water acrobats look good jumping, flipping, somersaulting and diving playfully.

That is what the Uttar Pradesh government has set out to do - to make the rivers of the state, home to the 'Ganges River Dolphin', fit for the mammals to live, breed and 'exult in joy'.

Aimed at conserving the national aquatic animal, the state government plans to launch a campaign 'My Ganga, My Dolphin' next month, a joint effort of the forest department and 'River For Life, Life For River' programme of WWF-India.

(Endangered species: WWF-India's headcount put the number of river dolphins in uttar Pradesh at around 600 in 2005)

Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is likely to flag off the campaign. According to forest department officials, the campaign is aimed at generating awareness about the conservation of the Ganges River Dolphin.

WWF-India's headcount put the number of river dolphins in Uttar Pradesh at around 600 in 2005.

Since then, no comprehensive census of the mammal has been done. Countrywide, the population of dolphins has shrunk drastically, thanks to indiscriminate fishing and river pollution.

The population of dolphins, estimated between 4,000 and 5,000 in India in 1982, has dwindled to less than 2,000 with 130-160 of the mammals dying every year.

The save-dolphin campaign will cover 2,750 km of the major rivers in the state: 100 km of the Ganga, 500 km of the Yamuna, 250 km of Chambal, 25 km of Geruwa, 505 km of Ghagra and 600 km of Ken, Betwa and Sone.

'We are entering a new mode of conservation altogether for the rivers of the state. We want to know the extent and distribution of aquatic species, especially dolphins, in the rivers,' said Rupak De, principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden of Uttar Pradesh.d

The Ganges River Dolphin is primarily found in the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna river systems and is one of four freshwater dolphins of the world.

The mammal is found in the deep waters in and around the confluence of two or more rivers.

Dolphins share their habitat with crocodiles, freshwater turtles and wetland birds, many of which are fish eaters and thus potential competitors of the mammals.

The river dolphin is often known as the 'Tiger of the Ganges' because it occupies the same position in a river ecosystem as that of a tiger in a forest.

'The beleaguered mammal is an extremely important indicator of a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

Being at the top of the freshwater food chain, its presence in adequate number signifies a rich biodiversity in the river system,' said Dr Sandeep Behera, associate director, river basins and biodiversity, WWF-India.

Find this story at www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2208012/Save-dolphin-campaign-Uttar-Pradeshs-dolphins-flip-jump-joy.html

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