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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 09 January, 2021

  • 17 Min Read

Dolphin killed by a group in UP

Dolphin killed by a group in UP

  • A video of a group of men and boys in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh district beating to death a Gangetic river dolphin surfaced on social media on Friday.
  • An endangered species, the Gangetic River Dolphin is recognised as the National Aquatic Animal.
  • The Pratapgarh police said they had arrested three persons and sent them to jail. Further legal action was being taken.
  • Killing the Gangetic River Dolphin is a punishable offence under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the FIR said. The motive behind the crime is not yet known.
  • In August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Project Dolphin, for the conservation of the aquatic mammal.

About Dolphins

  • Dolphins are keystone & indicator species. Barrage is a threat.
  • They are Cetaceans: 4 species of Freshwater (FW) Dolphins, 2 Saltwater (SW) & 1 Porpoise.
    1. Boto or Pink River Dolphin: Amazon + Orinoco. FW.
    2. Yangtze or Baiji: Functionally extinct in 2006. FW.
    3. Susu or Ganges River Dolphin:
      1. In India, Nepal & Bangladesh = Ganga - Brahmaputra - Meghna - Karnaphuli - Sangu. It is blind and rely on sonar.
      2. Vikramshila Ganges Dolphin Sanctuary at Bhagalpur (Sultanganj to Kahalgaon). It is Endangered.
    4. Bhulan or Indus River Dolphin:
      1. Indus Dolphin (Platanista Gangetica Minor) is found in Pakistan & India - Beas River (Punjab between Talwara & Harike Barrage).
      2. Not in Satluj anymore. They are freshwater, and functionally blind species of dolphins which rely on echolocation to navigate, communicate and hunt prey including prawns, catfish and carp.
      3. It is Endangered in IUCN; Indus Dolphins have reduced by > 50% since 1944.
    5. Tucuxi = SW + FW. East coast of Central & South America. Orinoco.
    6. Irawaddy R Dolphin: SW + FW. S & SE Asia.
    7. Finless Porpoise = only FW Porpoise species in East & Southeast Asia.
  • Punjab and WWF - India conducting 1st organized Census to estimate Indus Dolphin. Recently Punjab declared the Indus Dolphin as Punjab’s ‘State Aquatic Animal’.
  • India's and Asia's 1st National Dolphin Research Center (NDRC) in Patna University campus
    1. 5 Oct = Dolphin day. For Ganges River Dolphin.
    2. Threats are unintentional killing through entanglement in fishing gear; direct harvest for dolphin oil (used as fish attractant and meds); Water Development projects (barrage, dams); Industrial waste and pesticides; municipal sewage discharge; noise from vessel and overexploitation of prey.
  • Humpback Dolphins found in Indian Ocean from South Africa to India. They are mostly present in shallow waters. It has Endangered category and listed in Schedule 1 of WPA, 1972.
  • Irawaddy River Dolphins: are present in Bhitarkanika NP and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary. Even in Chilka Lake.
  • Annual Dolphin Census by Odisha, Feb 2019
    1. The dolphin species sighted during the state wide census included the Irrawaddy, the Bottle Nose and the Humpback.
    2. The census covered important aquatic ecosystems in the state including the Chilika lake, the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, Bhitarkanika National Park and Rushukulya River.
    3. Gahirmatha is the home of the state’s largest dolphin population, having 126 animals. The largest population of Irrawaddy dolphins is found in Gahirmatha > Chilika due to its bigger areas > Rushukulya River >, Balasore.
  • 146 Endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins sighted in Chilka under Dolphin Census in Odisha. Chilka Lake has the highest single lagoon population of dolphins in the World.
  • Ganges River Dolphin/ Susu Census by WWF-India
    1. Along a 250 km stretch of the Upper Ganga basin between Hastinapur Wildlife sanctuary and the Narora Ramsar site. The random boat survey method used. The population increased from 33 in 2018 to 36 in 2019.
    2. Found in the parts of Ganges-Meghna-Brahmaputra and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
    3. It is also called a Blind Dolphin because it does not have an eye lens and uses echolocators. It is an indicator species for the health of the river system. Endangered in IUCN, Appendix 1 in CITES, Schedule 1 in WPA, 1972.
    4. Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district is India’s only sanctuary for the Ganges River Dolphin.
    5. For the first time, a population of Gangetic River Dolphins has been found in the Mahananda river, in Bihar’s Kishanganj district.
  • Vaquita Porpoise: World's most endangered marine mammal may go extinct by 2018 if no action is taken to save them. It is known as the Panda of the sea. It is endemic to the Upper Gulf of California. It is Critically Endangered.

Project Dolphin

  • Project Dolphin will be on the lines of Project Tiger, which has helped increase the tiger population.
  • The project got in-principle approval in December 2019, at the first meeting of the National Ganga Council (NGC), headed by the Prime Minister.
  • It is expected to be implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • A Special Conservation program needs to be taken up for Gangetic Dolphin which is a national aquatic animal and also indicator species for the river Ganga spread over several states. As the Gangetic dolphin is at the top of the food chain, protecting the species and its habitat will ensure the conservation of the aquatic lives of the river.
  • So far, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), which implements the government’s flagship scheme Namami Gange, has been taking some initiatives for saving dolphins.
  • Global Experience: The Rhine Action Plan (1987) of the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) — representing Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxemburg and the Netherlands — helped in the conservation of the salmon fish (also an indicator species).

Source: TH


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