India needs a program called Project Dolphin along the lines of Project Tiger to enhance the population of dolphins. Discuss.
The Gangetic river dolphins are one of the oldest creatures in the world along with turtles, crocodiles and sharks. They can live only in freshwater, are blind and catch their prey using ultrasonic sound waves.
They were discovered in 1801 and lived in Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India and Bangladesh. But now they are extinct from many of its earlier ranges.
Gangetic dolphins were declared India’s National aquatic animal in 2009 and is placed under the endangered category by the IUCN. The WWF estimates their number between 1200 to 1800.
Efforts made to protect dolphins
The National Ganga Council headed by the PM, for the first time discussed the proposal to save and enhance the population of Gangetic Dolphin and to provide sewer connections to every household in towns along the Ganga & its tributaries.
Earlier measure to preserve and increase the numbers of dolphins include setting up of Conservation action plan for Gangetic Dolphin (2010-2020). It identified threats to Gangetic dolphins and depletion of their prey-base.
Gangetic dolphins have also been included in Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection act, 1972 , thus according the highest degrees of protection against hunting.
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