The Gangetic dolphin makes a comeback

The Indian government’s efforts to bring down pollution in River Ganga bears fruit as the Gangetic dolphin is back from the verge of extinction.

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TSA India Team Aids in Rescue of Ganges River Dolphin. ©

The dwindling population of the Gangetic dolphin, one of the four fresh-water dolphins in the world, is slowly making a revival as the efforts of a number of government officials to bring down the pollution of the India’s largest river sees some success.

Declared as India’s National Aquatic animal in 2009, the endangered species are provided absolute protection as per Schedule 1 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. In a mapping study jointly conducted by the district administration, forest department and World Wildlife Fund India, as many as 110 dolphins were spotted in a 90 km stretch between Kaushambi and Handia.

The conservation efforts in this part of Uttar Pradesh (Northern India) were spearheaded by the District Magistrate, Sanjay Kumar. In a report by the Hindustan Times, the District Magistrate said: “Their conservation was a Herculean task because of unabated pollution. Moreover, these dolphins get trapped in fishing nets. Fishermen had to be educated about changing the kind of nets they use so that dolphins are no longer threatened. Dolphins feed on a certain species of fish. We focused on the availability of this fish in Ganga.”

Amit Bhatt, Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) Fatehpur, who was also involved in the project, claimed the improvement in water nutrification to be the reason behind this increase in population. Nutrification is a process in which water bodies receive an excess amount of nutrients which supplement the habitat in which dolphins thrive.

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