Bihar task force report on Ganga dolphins soon

July 20th, 2011 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, July 20 (IANS) A task force for conservation of the endangered Ganga river dolphins is expected to submit its report in the next five-six months, officials said here Wednesday.

A state wildlife board official said the task force, headed by dolphin expert R.K. Sinha, set up by the Bihar government in April, will submit its report to the state government in next five to six months.

Sinha, who is known as the “dolphin man of India”, told IANS that the state government move proved that it is serious about the conservation of Gangetic dolphins.

Sinha, who is head of the Patna-based Central University’s environment department, is an expert on the species and also chairman of the working group for dolphin conservation set up by the central government.

The Gangetic dolphin is India’s national aquatic animal, but is being frequently hunted by poachers in the state for their flesh and oil. The carcasses are found on the banks of the river at an alarming rate in Bihar.

Sinha said more than a dozen dolphins have reportedly been killed in Bihar in two years.

The central environment ministry has asked the state government to launch an awareness campaign among the people to protect the species.

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

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

The Gangetic dolphin is one of the four freshwater dolphin species in the world. The other three are found in the Yangtze river in China, the Indus river in Pakistan and the Amazon river in South America.

The species, found in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, is blind and finds its way and its prey in the river waters through echoes.

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