The Gangetic Dolphin will be the State Animal of Bihar and the Neelkanth (coracias benghalensis) the State Bird, if the Government approves a proposal submitted to it by the Forest Department. The department has also proposed that the China Rose be declared the State Flower and the Peepal (ficus religiosa), the State Tree.
Incidentally, the China Rose and the Peepal tree are also known as Arahul and the Ashwattha tree, respectively.
The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Bashir Ahmad Khan, said that a number of states had accorded to certain flora and fauna unique to their respective regions the special status of State Animal, Bird, Tree or State Flower. The Forest Department proposal that certain animals, birds and plants be granted a similar status for Bihar was under consideration by the Government, he added.
“The Government was considering granting the status of State Animal to the Gangetic Dolphin which is the only surviving freshwater dolphin in the world. The State has already named the stretch of the Ganga from Sultanganj to Kahalagon, as the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary,” he said.
The Ganga passes through some other states, too, but the presence of dolphins in the Ganga in those states is negligible, Khan added.
“In Bihar also the species is threatened with extinction because of poachers and, therefore, actively needs to be conserved. Granting it the status of State Animal may draw greater attention to the need for its conservation,” a Forest Department official said.
As for the Neelkanth — which, incidentally, is also known by the names of Blue Jay and the Indian Roller — the Forest Department decided to recommend it for the status of State Bird as it is to be commonly found in the lower Himalayan region, but particularly in the plains of Bihar.