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Home / Lucknow / Sighting of rare dolphins increases in Ganga basins of West UP

Sighting of rare dolphins increases in Ganga basins of West UP

Endangered Gangetic dolphins are returning to their habitats, all thanks to the reduced water pollution and less human activities across the river in West UP.

lucknow Updated: Apr 27, 2020 22:34 IST
S Raju
S Raju
Hindustan Times, Meerut
Dolphins’ sighting has increased at different locations in upper Gangetic basin (168 km stretch of Ganges between in Bijnor and Narora of West UP).
Dolphins’ sighting has increased at different locations in upper Gangetic basin (168 km stretch of Ganges between in Bijnor and Narora of West UP).

With people practising social distancing and staying at home due to the Covid-19 lockdown, endangered Gangetic dolphins are returning to their habitats, all thanks to the reduced water pollution and less human activities across the river in West UP.

Dolphins’ sighting has increased at different locations in upper Gangetic basin (168 km stretch of Ganges between in Bijnor and Narora of West UP). Aquatic lovers are even sharing dolphins’ sightings in fresh water on twitter and other social media platforms and sharing knowledge about these aquatic mammals.

Sandeep Behra, a biodiversity expert and associated as consultant with National Clean Ganga Mission shares, “At least 40 plus dolphins have been sighted in upper Gangetic basin and it is due to less human activities and reduced pollution level in the river.”

He said these dolphins can differentiate only dark and light, but can’t see. They use echolocation, often known as sonar, to see better underwater. They are also known as indicator of a robust river and mainly found at confluence of tributaries and other water bodies in river Ganga.

Behra said in upper Gangetic basins--Karnwas and Aahar in Bulandshshar district, Pooth in Hapur, Tigri in Amroha and a near barrage in Bijnor district are favourite spots for spotting these dolphins, which have been declared “National Aquatic Animal”.

Besides, 82 kms stretch of Ganges between Garh Muktesgwar and Narora was the first wetland of UP declared “Ramsar Site” in the year 2006 for conservation of these dolphins. Ramsar is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The treaty was signed in 1971 in the city of Ramsar in Iran, and India is one of its signatories.

Dr Behra said that not only in upper Gangetic basin, but the sighting of these dolphins has also been noticed close to Ghats in Kolkata after a long period of three decades. “These are not mere sightings but indications that how animals and human are associated with each other, and increased human activities have driven them away from us.”

These highly endangered fresh water dolphins (a species different from marine dolphins) are facing multiple threats for their existence. Chemical seepage in river from riverbed farming, illegal fishing activities, rising level of pollution and poaching for their blubber are some major threats to these dolphins.

Two months ago an adult dolphin was killed in Hastinapur area of Meerut district and injuries of piercing it with some sharp weapon was spotted on its body.

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