NEW DELHI: On the lines of Project Tiger and Project Elephant, India will soon initiate project to protect the Gangetic Dolphins in the country, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday.
In his Independence Day speech from ramparts of Red Fort, PM Modi mentioned about the river dolphins and a plans to initiate a dedicated conservation project.
In India, these dolphins are sighted along deep river reaches in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. As per the assessment reports, there are about 3700 Gangetic River Dolphins in the Indian river systems.
The Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change will be launching a 10 year-'Project Gangetic Dolphin' giving a stronger impetus for conservation and protection to the species. The project envisages to address conservation concern and to empower the stake holders like river dependent population in reducing the river pollution, allowing sustainable fishery and river based other livelihood options through science based conservation methods.
The Gangetic River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica) is found in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli River system of India, Nepal and Bangladesh. They are a species of freshwater dolphins primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers.
River dolphins act as ideal ecological indicators of a healthy riverine ecosystems. River dolphins are flagship species for monitoring the conservation status of rivers. It has been declared as a National Aquatic species in 2010.
Several million people are depend on the River Ganga for their sustenance.
"Conservation of Gangetic Dolphins will, therefore, benefit the survival of the species, but also, the people dependent on the river system for their livelihood. Being an indicator species of river ecosystems, conservation of the Gangetic River Dolphin would also ensure controlling river pollution and thereby improving the availability of fishes and enhancing economies local communities, through sustainable fishery, eco-tourism, etc. The Gangetic River Dolphins, therefore, play a vital role in providing valuable ecosystem services for benefit of humanity," said tje union environment ministry.
Implementation of the “Project Gangetic Dolphin” envisions healthy river ecosystem not only protecting the biodiversity of river but also taking into consideration of the wellbeing of the people depending on its resources.