Govt to carry out comprehensive census of Gangetic dolphin
For the first time, the government will carry out a comprehensive census of endangered Gangetic dolphins, ghariyals and turtles across the entire Ganges river system to get their official count.
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) will carry out the exercise through Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), an autonomous institution under Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, by February-end or early March.
"This is for the first time, a proper comprehensive and scientific study of Gangetic dolphins will be carried out across its entire Ganges river system to establish an official count," Consultant (Biodiversity centre), NMCG, Sandeep Behera said. He said that it will also be for the first time that the abundance and species composition of ghariyals and turtles will be figured out during the survey to be carried out under Aqua Life programme.
The study, to be carried out by NMCG under the Centre's ambitious Namami Gange programme, is crucial because populace of the freshwater animals reflect quality of the river water (more the populace, better the water quality).
All the efforts of counting the number of dolphins in the Ganga until now were carried out in bits and pieces or in particular stretches of the river.
The WII scientists will co-ordinate with states and NGOs for the study, he added.
Unlike the previous such efforts, the fresh census will not be a rapid survey and will be conducted over a period of one month.
This, Behera said, will give the scientists the authentic figure as far as population of the national aquatic animal, dolphin, is concerned.
Uttar Pradesh government had in October 2015 had conducted a census for over a period of three days in Ganga's stretch in the state.
"The UP census was a three-day rapid survey with not many experts onboard. In 2012, I had conducted a study in UP and found 670 dolphins. The 2015 UP government survey had suggested that there were around 1300 dolphins.