GANGETIC DOLPHINS are in for a good time. Their home in the upper Gangetic plain now has a new name - Ramsar site.The 82-km river stretch between Brijghat and Narora would be entitled for special grants from national and international agencies. The money will be used to take care of the Ramsar site and free it from pollution and industrial sewage.
The declaration of the portion of the Ganga as Ramsar site has brought the isolated population of 42 dolphins in the river under the Ramsar Convention signed in Iran in 1971, of which India is a signatory.
“The declaration would help in bringing dolphins into the bracket of flagship species,” said Dr Sandeep Behera, fresh water species coordinator (WWF) over phone from Narora. Apart from biodiversity conservation, under the convention, efforts for stopping soil erosion, integrated river basin management plan, etc are other areas that would be dealt effectively under the convention.
The WWF has been trying to bring the Gangetic dolphins, also called as the ‘Cow of the Ganges’ on par with other flagship schedule I animals like tiger and rhinos.The most interesting part of the dolphin population in the area is that one can see a number of juvenile dolphins in the river. “In Narora alone, one can see 5-6 juvenile dolphins,” said Behera. The WWF is all set to start a survey in the river from tomorrow to submit the status of dolphins in the river.
The WWF had also experimented with sadhus to educate the local populace about the significance of dolphins. The sadhus during their discourse also spread a word on conserving the dolphins.
There are 29 villages on the bank of the river, and the WWF, to begin with, adopted three villages. Work of sensitizing the people in Farida village had been completed, informed Behera. A stretch of the Ghagra has 300 dolphins; the Chambal 82 and the Yamuna 200.