News: The annual Ganges river dolphin census has begun.
About Ganges River Dolphin Census
- It is undertaken by World Wide Fund for Nature-India in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department.
- It takes place along about 250-km-long riverine stretch of Upper Ganga between Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary and Narora Ramsar site.
- Unlike previous years, when direct counting method was used, this year the tandem boat survey method is being used.
About Tandem Boat survey Method:
- The method has been developed by the renowned river and marine ecologist Gill Braulik.
- Under this method, the officials use two inflated boats which move in tandem to count the dolphins. After collating the data, statistical tools are employed to arrive at the final count.
About Gangetic Dolphin
- The Gangetic river dolphin inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
- Being a mammal, the Ganges River dolphin cannot breathe in the water and must surface every 30-120 seconds. Because of the sound it produces when breathing, the animal is popularly referred to as the ‘Susu’.
- It is among the four “obligate” freshwater dolphins. The other obligate freshwater dolphins are a) Baiji (likely extinct) found in Yangtze river in China, b) the Bhulan in Indus river of Pakistan and c) the Boto in Amazon river in Latin America.
- In India, Dolphins are protected species as per the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The government has also declared Gangetic Dolphin as the national aquatic animal.
- Gangetic dolphin is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List.
- The only dolphin sanctuary in India is the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary located in Bhagalpur District of Bihar.