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BASIN-WIDE CONSERVATION OF GANGETIC DOLPHINS



  Jun 05, 2024

BASIN-WIDE CONSERVATION OF GANGETIC DOLPHINS



SIMPLIFIER

1. What is the significance of the Gangetic dolphin?
The Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is crucial for stabilizing the river ecosystem, regulating energy flow, and maintaining fish and crustacean populations.

2. Why are Gangetic dolphins endangered?
The Gangetic dolphin is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to declining numbers, estimated between 2,500 and 5,000 individuals, and habitat loss.

3. What new conservation plan has been proposed?
Scientists have proposed a basin-wide conservation strategy focusing on the smaller rivers and tributaries of the Ganga basin, identifying 620 km of river stretches as conservation priorities.

4. What methods were used to identify priority areas for conservation?
During post-monsoon seasons in 2022 and 2023, scientists surveyed 1,290 km of the Ganga basin’s tributaries and sub-tributaries to assess the distribution, numbers, and habitat suitability of the Gangetic dolphin.

5. What are the main challenges in conserving Gangetic dolphins?
Challenges include the construction of dams and barrages, pollution from agricultural run-offs, directed and unintentional killings, increasing sediment deposition, mechanized boat traffic, and the impacts of climate change.

6. How are smaller rivers important for Gangetic dolphin conservation?
Smaller rivers harbor more than 15% of Gangetic dolphins and contribute to habitat diversity, providing resilience to the larger rivers and supporting ecological processes.

7. What are the primary conservation measures recommended?
Conservation measures include habitat protection and restoration, mitigating threats like overfishing and net entanglement, community engagement, awareness initiatives, and research and monitoring efforts.

8. What role does community engagement play in dolphin conservation?
Engaging local communities and stakeholders is essential for effective conservation, ensuring sustainable practices and increasing awareness about the importance of protecting the Gangetic dolphin.

9. What additional steps are necessary for successful conservation?
• Tailoring conservation action plans to specific sites.
• Increasing protected areas for dolphins.
• Maintaining ecological flow in rivers.
• Implementing technological interventions to reduce accidental dolphin deaths.
• Providing robust scientific monitoring of dolphin populations, hydrology, and threats.
• Engaging with river water use and management policies.


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