Dolphins of Chambal River

Context: Recently, the Madhya Pradesh forest department has prepared the latest census report which states that the dolphins’ number in Chambal river has been reduced in four years.

Key Highlights of the Report

  • There are just 68 dolphins left in 435-kilometre-long Chambal river sanctuary.
  • The dolphins’ number in Chambal river has been reduced by 13 per cent in four years i.e. from 78 dolphins in 2016 to 68 in 2019.

Reasons for Declining number of Dolphins in Chambal River

  • Illegal Sand Mining: The illegal sand mining and consumption of water is rising rampantly and putting the whole ecosystem of the river in danger.
  • Illegal Sand Mafia: The forest teams face so many life threatening attacks while taking actions against illegal sand mafia.
  • Poaching: The increased incidents of poaching have led to significant decrease in dolphins’ numbers in Chambal River.
  • Lack of Studies on Dolphin: The dolphin is a sensitive animal and there is lack of availability of studies on dolphins.

About Gangetic Dolphin

  • It is a rare species of dolphins i.e.  platanista gangetica.
  • It is listed as ‘Endangered’ under IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • It has rudimentary eyes i.e. from preying to surfing, dolphins do it through ultrasonic sound.
  • It once lived in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India and Bangladesh.
  • It can only live in freshwater and protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).
  • Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district is India’s only sanctuary for dolphins.

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