The Dolphin man from Patna University, Prof RK Sinha is hoping the National Dolphin Research Centre is set up at the university as soon as possible and is looking to develop a young research team to carry forward his work. A pioneer in preservation of the Schedule 1 animal for the past three decades, Sinha’s work featured in the list of Padma Shri awardees announced on Monday. Buoyed by the distinction, Sinha hopes his focus on dolphins will motivate others to work on saving the Ganga mammal.
“I am thankful to chief minister Nitish Kumar for nominating my name for the award. He has been very appreciative of my work since 2006, when I organized a national conference in Patna and now my objective is to develop a workforce of young researchers to carry forward the work for saving dolphins and rejuvenating the Ganga,” said the head of the zoology department.
Author to scores of research papers and books on dolphins, Sinha has been working to protect the national aquatic mammal since his student days, back in the 1970s. His work was also the subject of two of French filmmaker Christian Gallisson’s projects, including ‘Alert on the Ganga’.
“The central government recognised dolphins as a highly endangered species under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and gave it the status of national aquatic animal (in 2010). The maximum dolphins are in Ganga, though they are found in other Bihar rivers also,” said Sinha, adding that a comprehensive plan is required to save the mammal.
“In 2016, a fresh survey would be undertaken for the dolphin count and a sum of Rs 76 lakh has been sanctioned for the purpose by the National Mission for Clean Ganga. A similar exercise would be undertaken in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bengal for a detailed survey,” he added.
The dolphin research centre, the first of its kind in the country, will now receive a major push. The erstwhile Planning Commission had in fact sanctioned a sum of Rs 28.06 crore in 2013, appreciating its unique importance, while the state government released a sum of Rs 19.16 crore for infrastructure in 2014.