Bihar to conduct dolphin census

The initiative is a part of clean Ganga mission and will involve use of hi-tech machines

 
By Alok Gupta
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

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Bihar is gearing up to conduct the first ever official dolphin census in all the rivers of the state. This is the largest ever aquatic census in the state.

River dolphin is the national aquatic animal of India. Though the state department for environment and forests has no official figures on the numbers of river dolphins, it is estimated that Bihar is home to more than half of dolphin population in the country.  

Conducting this census and counting the number of dolphins is a difficult task as dolphins come out of the water every two minutes to breathe. B A Khan, principal conservator of forests, said Down To Earth that the state is using International Union for Conservation Guidelines for that would require global positioning system fitted boats and trained manpower.

“We have started the preparation for census that will provide us first official figures on number of dolphins in the state,” he said. 

The work will start in November. The department, however, has started identifying spots around river banks of the rivers Ganga, Sone, Kosi, Bharamputra, Gandak, Mahananda and Kamala for setting up camp offices. It is also considering training college students for some related work. “Youth should know about environment-related issues. Induction of college students for census is under consideration,” Khan added.

The initiative is a part of the “clean Ganga mission” that will be promoting similar censuses in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Before this, Bihar had initiated an awareness drive among the fishworkers to promote protection of dolphins. A considerable number of dolphins get killed after remaining trapped in fishing nets.

India had recently placed Dolphins under “non –human persons” category. Consequently, there was a ban on keeping dolphins under captivity for entertainment.

 

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