Sand mining, reservoirs threaten gharials and Gangetic dolphins in MP

  • Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: May 22, 2015 16:41 IST

Translocating endangered Ganges dolphins whose habitat is being threatened by illegal sand mining and damming of the Chambal River would be disastrous, says a wildlife expert.

The expert, however, says gharials, which are on the verge of extinction can be translocated from the Chambal River to the Narmada River in Sutpura national park on an experimental basis after fresh surveys are conducted by agencies like the Wildlife Institute of India and by taking opinion from experts.

With the Chambal River no longer being a safe habitat for the ‘critically endangered’ gharials—the long snouted crocodiles – and the rare Ganges dolphins, the state wildlife department’s proposal to relocate them to the Satpura national park in Hoshangabad district, could prove to be counterproductive, said wildlife expert RK Sharma, who was asked study the proposal.

Sharma, in his report submitted to the wildlife department, said introducing dolphins in the Narmada River system where there was no previous records of the river mammals, could prove to be disastrous and problematic.

“There are no previous records of dolphins living in the Narmada river system,” he said.

Introduction could be problematic for the dolphins that are already on the verge of extinction,” he said.

A meeting will be held in Bhopal on Friday to decide on Sharma’s recommendations, said state principal chief conservator of forests Narendra Kumar.

“Rampant illegal sand mining in the Chambal River is not only destroying and disturbing the habitat of these species, it is difficult for wildlife officials to protect and monitor these species…four dams have been constructed on the Chambal river, which has limited and reduced the flow downstream where these species live...” Kumar told Hindustan Times.

“We wanted to translocate these species to safer and better protected Satpura National Park,” he added.

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