Dolphin found dead in Patna

June 3rd, 2010 - 12:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, June 3 (IANS) A Ganges river dolphin, an endangered species, was killed by suspected poachers on the banks of Ganga river here, forest officials said Thursday.
The dolphin’s body was found floating near Deedarganj Ghat here Wednesday evening.

“The dolphin is suspected to have been killed by poachers. We have begun an investigation to identify the killers,” a forest official told IANS.

“A team from the forest department has taken the dolphin’s body in its custody and sent it for autopsy,” Police officer R.N. Manjhi said.

Ganges river dolphins are being killed at an alarming rate in Bihar. The environment ministry has asked the state government to launch an awareness campaign to protect the species, declared a national aquatic animal.

In April, four dolphins were killed by suspected poachers in Patna. An autopsy revealed that the dolphins were trapped and beaten to death as they bore several marks on their necks and heads.

Early this year, a dolphin was killed in Bhagalpur district.

Ganges river dolphins fall in Schedule I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and have been declared an endangered species under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

R.K. Sinha, head of Patna University’s zoology department and an expert on Ganges river dolphins, said more than a dozen dolphins were reportedly killed in different parts of Bihar in 2009.

Experts estimate the current number of the Ganges river dolphins at around 2,000. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says that in the 1980s, there were around 3,500 dolphins in the Ganga delta region alone.

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