Endangered dolphins spotted in Ganga

Lucknow: After flamingos in Mumbai, ‘nilgai’ in Noida, now rare sightings of dolphins were made in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut city — with nature reclaiming its space amid the lockdown.

A video clip of Ganges River Dolphin, an endangered freshwater dolphin breed, enjoying in the Ganga river in Meerut is going viral and taking internet by storm.

The video was shared by Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Akash Deep Badhawan on the microblogging site, Twitter.

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It shows a pair of dolphins enjoying a swim in the Ganges. Badhawan, however, did not mention if the video was shot by him recently.

Alongside the video, he wrote, “DYK? Ganges River Dolphin, our National Aquatic Animal once lived in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna river system is now endangered. They live in fresh water and are practically blind, with small slits as eyes. Was fortunate to spot these in Ganges in Meerut.”

The IFS officer further wrote, “Officially discovered in 1801, these creatures are practically blind, with small slits for eyes. They hunt using ultrasonic sounds to track other fishes in the vicinity. Usually, solo, sometimes they are found in small groups, especially Mother and calf.”

He further added that, “Their habitat is largely tracts of Ganges where fish is aplenty and water currents are slow. Here, dense human population has led to fishermen catching them along with fish and they become a ‘bycatch’. However, they are still hunted at times for their meat and oil by few.”

Gangetic dolphins in Uttar Pradesh are mainly seen in Katarniaghat in the Terai belt of the state.

The population of Gangetic dolphins across the country is merely 600 of which their population at Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary is around 100. Regular monitoring and awareness programmes have led to an increase in the dolphin population in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

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