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Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

Endangered Gangetic dolphin strays into polluted canal in West Bengal, dies

The dolphin which strayed into the canal on Friday could not return to the river.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2019 13:48 IST
Joydeep Thakur
Joydeep Thakur
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
The dolphin could not be saved after it strayed into a canal polluted by plastic and thermocol.
The dolphin could not be saved after it strayed into a canal polluted by plastic and thermocol.(West Bengal forest department)

An endangered Gangetic dolphin died on Saturday after it strayed into a village canal in the coastal East Midnapore district in West Bengal on Friday.

While on one hand fishing nets were laid in the canal which obstructed its flow, forest officials said that the water was also polluted as plastic, thermocol and other wastes were dumped in the canal at Mugberia, 133 km Southwest of Kolkata

The Gangetic Dolphin is the national aquatic animal of India and less than 2000 remain in India.

“The dolphin had entered the canal on Friday. We tried to push it back into the river and managed to do so for at least 15 km downstream. But there were fishing nets which obstructed its path. The water was also polluted as plastic and thermocol are dumped in the canal. It couldn’t be saved,” said Swagata Das, the local divisional forest officer.

The Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica) is a mammal primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The dolphin is an indicator of the river’s health. Ganges River Dolphin is listed on the Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and Schedule I of India’s Wildlife (Protection), Act, 1972. Therefore, hunting of the species and trade is prohibited.