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.
- 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.
- The GRDs have been designated the National Aquatic Animal of India since 2010.
- It is listed as:
- Endangered under IUCN Red List
- Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act (1972)
- 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.
- 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.