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Ganges River Dolphins (GRDs)

  Nov 13, 2021

Ganges River Dolphins (GRDs)

Q Why is it in News ?

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

Q What are some details about 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.

Q What are their 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)

Q What are 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.

Q What are various threats to Gangetic Dolphins ?

  • 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.