October 20, 2020

Focus on dolphin stretch

Patna: The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) will submit a report to the state government describing the favourable conditions present in a 22km stretch of the Ganga between Patna and Fatuha for dolphins.

The report will also urge the government to pay special attention to this stretch and take steps for declaring it a notified area for protecting the aquatic mammals which also enjoy the status being the national aquatic animal.

The ZSI regional head in Bihar, Gopal Sharma, said: “During the recent surveys conducted twice in the 22km stretch of the river, some facts came to light following which we have decided to submit the report to the state government.”

While the first survey was conducted on May 10, the second one took place on July11 during the training of youths under Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP). During the first survey conducted between Gandhi Ghat in Patna and Triveni Ghat in Fatuha, 23 dolphins were sighted and during the second survey in the same stretch the number of sightings went up to 29.

Describing the favourable conditions which he witnessed during the survey work, the ZSI regional head said: “The water level remains good in this stretch and the use of those varieties of fishing nets in which dolphins generally get trapped too was minimal. Also, the Punpun meets the Ganga near Triveni Ghat and it brings a good amount of small fishes which provide rich source of food for dolphins.”

Quizzed about the likely step that the state government would take on the ZSI report, the state principal chief conservator of forest, D.K. Shukla, said: “We welcome all such initiatives of agencies which provide valuable input to us. As the outcome suggests, dolphins are present in good number in this small stretch of the river. We would promote eco-tourism in this stretch.”

Shukla said promoting eco-tourism would be beneficial for tourists, who come in large numbers to Patna, and also encourage residents to join hands for conserving the dolphins as they would be actively involved in activities related to eco-tourism which would bring them gainful employment.

It is estimated that Bihar is home to around half of the estimated 3,000 dolphin population in the country. The aquatic mammals have kept under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and these have also been declared an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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