“WWF conducts study on Ganga dolphins” by Times of India
WWF conducts study on Ganga dolphins
The Times of India
September 29, 2011
KOLKATA: WWF-India had initiated a study on dolphins found in the Ganga, between Sagar and Farakka. After an eight-month study, the team of scientists has been able to cite the causes behind the threat to this Schedule I animal.
Siltation, deaths by fishermen’s net and death caused due to water traffic have been considered some of the reasons. The team of scientists has, in fact, completed its survey in Kolaghat , Gadiara and Mayapur.
The team from WWF has been spending time in the river, studying the behaviour of the national water animal and trying to find out if there have been any recent changes which could be a threat to their lives. It has been able to spot a good number of dolphins in this 460-kilometre stretch.
“However, what now needs to be seen is the distribution at other places and whether they are feeling threatened in any way. Siltation , deaths by fishermen’s net and death caused due to water traffic are rampant. These need to be addressed,” said Saswati Sen, state director of WWF-India .
Siltation in the Ganges caused due to release of fly ash and other toxic industrial effluents poses a major problem. WWF has partnered with the civic bodies and West Bengal Pollution Control Board for the study along the designated stretch. The study will continue till 2013.
“Dolphins love to live in deep water near the confluence of two or more rivers . Due to heavy siltation in their original habitat, they are being forced to change their locations and that is causing immense stress to their system. We will have to address this issue with the help of government agencies. Siltation is also harming the lives and behaviour of the fish,” Sen explained.
A large number of dolphins are routinely caught in the fishermen’s net and left to die. Dolphins are not eaten and hence have no intrinsic value to fishermen. They are not poached either but still live a threatened existence . “Many are caught in the wheels of motorized boats and get killed,” added Sen.
The average life span of dolphins is 25-28 years and they give birth to only one calf every two to three years, which makes it even more important to protect their diminishing population, felt scientists.