Second dolphin death in 5 days in UP’s Bulandshahr; probe panel set up
A committee of five officials, including members of the Wildlife Institute of India and WWF India, has been formed under the chairmanship of the divisional forest officer to probe the deathsUpdated: Oct 14, 2020, 15:59 IST
The death of another dolphin, the second in five days in Narora area of Uttar Pradsh’s Bulandshahr district, has evoked concern among experts about protection of this highly endangered fresh water species in the Upper Gangetic Basin.
The chief conservator (forest) of west zone, N K Jaanu, said a committee of five officials, including members of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and WWF India, has been formed under the chairmanship of the divisional forest officer ( DFO) to probe the death of two dolphins in the Narora area.
“I have directed them to submit their report in two days and make arrangements for a proper post-mortem of the animal,” said Jaanu.
In the latest instance, a dolphin was found dead in the lower Ganga canal near Ramghat bridge on Tuesday. Previously, a young dolphin was found dead near Narora village on October 9. Earlier in January, a dolphin was found dead near Jalapur Jora village Meerut’s Hastinapur area.
The total population of dolphins in Upper Gangetic Basin (176-km stretch of Ganges between Bijnore and Narora barrages) is 41, as per the latest joint survey of WWF India and forest department.
State’s chief wildlife warden Sunil Pandey also announced that a committee of senior officials would be set up to investigate frequent death of dolphins. Pandey said forest officials and staff needed to be more vigilant to protect these highly endangered animals, which had been included in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Act.
Dr Sandeep Behera, consultant of National Ganga Clean Mission( NGMC), said, “We must put an effective check on the frequent death of dolphins.”
He said the stretch of Ganga between Narora and Garhmukteshwar was declared a Ramsar site (wetland site of international importance) because of these dolphins and the community’s participation in their conservation. But, he alleged, officials could not develop a management plan for the site in past 15 years. Important sites are called Ramsar sites because of the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by Unesco, which came into force in 1975.
A senior forest official, who did not wish to be named, said, “Prima facie, illegal fishing in the river seems to be the reason for the death of these two dolphins.”
As dolphins are mammals, they need to come out of the water every three to four minutes to breathe. Blind by birth, they differentiate between light and dark by using sonar rays. They detect and escape obstacles inside the water through the rebound rays. However, fisherman use nylon nets and the sonar rays pass through these. As a result, there is no rebound and the dolphins are unable to detect the nets, getting entangled in them and then dying of suffocation.