Speed restrictions and sound alerts mooted for protection of dolphins

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  1. The Ministry of Shipping has planned to safeguard the population of the Ganges River Dolphin in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) by restricting the speeds of vessels and blowing sirens and horns.
  2. The other measures suggested are a) fitting vessels with propeller guards and dolphin deflectors to minimise dolphin accidents and b) using non-toxic paints for painting vessels.
  3. The measures are an attempt to minimise the impact of National Waterway-1 connecting Haldia to Varanasi which passes through the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary.
  4. Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary is located in Bhagalpur District of Bihar. It is the only dolphin sanctuary in India.
  5. The Gangetic river dolphin inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Gangetic dolphin is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List.