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
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.
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.
Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary is located
in Bhagalpur District of Bihar. It is the only dolphin sanctuary in India.
The Gangetic river dolphin inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna
and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
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.