There is good news for animal lovers. The number of Gangetic dolphins in UP has gone up to 671 from 600 seven years ago.
Announcing the new numbers of Gangetic dolphin at the conclusion of a statewide census on Sunday, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said: “I’m pleased to observe that the numbers of Gangetic dolphins have increased. But still a lot is to be done to promote awareness not just about the dolphins but also about our water bodies. Farmers along the river banks use chemical fertilisers to increase productivity. But these chemicals damage the aquatic animals. Hence, we have to adopt measures as vermicompost to reduce the damage.”
The growth in the number of the mammals has been reported stable in some pockets, including Upper Ganga, while some areas reported a growth. There were also some area where the population of the dolphins declined. The census was conducted in a 2,800-kilometre stretch of Ganga and its tributaries, including Yamuna, Son, Ken, Betwa, Ghaghara and Geruwa jointly by World Wildlife Fund -India and UP government.
As per a 1982 estimate, there were 4,000-5,000 Gangetic dolphins in India. Their number declined to about 1,600 according to a 2005 estimate, out of which 600 were reported in UP. They have an annual mortality estimate rate of 130 to 160.
“Eighteen teams comprising 150 people worked to bring us these results,” said Ravi Singh, CEO of WWF-India. “Gangetic dolphin is one of the three remaining dolphin species of the world. The other two are found in Amazon and Indus rivers,” he added.
Rupak De, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) of UP, said they will now analyse the factors that led to the growth in number of dolphins in some areas. “We will also study why their numbers declined in some pockets and then, based on the analysis, undertake measures to prevent the decline,” De added