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Ganga-Ghagra Basin Canals : An Alarming Threat to Dolphins.



  Oct 09, 2023

Ganga-Ghagra Basin Canals Posing a Threat to Dolphins



What is the Ganges river dolphin?

The Ganges river dolphin is an endangered species native to the Ganga-Ghagra basin in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is protected under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and is listed as "endangered" on the IUCN Red List.

Why are they important?

As the national aquatic animal of India, the Ganges river dolphin is an important part of the country's natural heritage. Its presence is also an indicator of the health of the river ecosystem.

What are the main threats to the dolphins?

The primary threats to these dolphins are dams and barrages, which have severely affected their natural habitat. They often move into irrigation canals where they face risks such as rapidly receding waters, heat stroke, and human interference.

What does the study reveal?

The study reveals that between 2013 and 2020, 19 Gangetic river dolphins were rescued from irrigation canals in the Ganga-Ghagra basin. During this period, five dolphins died.

What are the details about the rescued dolphins?

Out of the 19 successfully rescued dolphins, 14 were identified as female and 10 as male. Their total body length (TBL) ranged from 128 cm to 275 cm.

What do the researchers say about the dolphins' behavior?

The researchers observed that the dolphins may prefer to live and/or hunt in pods. They may stray into canals while following prey or get flushed into the canals by sudden water discharge from barrage gates.

What is the gender ratio among the rescued dolphins?

The study points out a higher proportion of females to males among the rescued dolphins.

When are dolphins most likely to get trapped?

Over 70% of entrapments were reported either post-monsoon or during peak winter. The rest were rescued during peak summer.

What are the challenges in rescuing the dolphins?

Rescuing dolphins requires specialized expertise, as they are delicate animals. Keeping them alive post-rescue is also a challenge.

What is the current significance of this study?

The study provides crucial empirical data that can be used for future conservation and rescue efforts for this endangered species. It highlights the urgent need for monitoring and intervention to protect the Ganges river dolphin.


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