Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Guidelines released for safe rescue, release of Ganges River Dolphins (GRDs)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Gangetic Dolphin

Mains level: Not Much

The Jal Shakti Ministry has released a guide for the safe rescue and release of stranded Ganges River Dolphins.

Gangetic Dolphin

  • The Gangetic river system is home to a vast variety of aquatic life, including the Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica).
  • The species, whose global population is estimated at 4,000, are (nearly 80%) found in the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent, particularly in Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems.
  • It is one of five species of river dolphin found around the world.
  • Only three species of freshwater dolphins are remaining on the earth after the functional extinction of the Chinese river Dolphin (Baiji) in 2006.

Conservation status

  1. The GRDs have been designated the National Aquatic Animal of India since 2010.
  • It is listed as:
  1. Endangered under IUCN Red List
  2. Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act (1972)
  3. Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

About the guidelines

  • The document has been prepared by the Turtle Survival Alliance, India Program and Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department (EFCCD), Uttar Pradesh.
  • The guide has been drawn from years of experience of the organization while rescuing 25 Ganges River Dolphins (GRDs) stranded in irrigation canals.

Various threats

  • They often accidentally enter canal channels in northern India and are often entrapped, and die as they are unable to swim up against the gradient.
  • They are eventually harassed by the locals.
  • Opportunistic poaching for meat and oil in certain pockets of the country is another big threat.


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