NEW DELHI: The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) launched Dolphin-based ecotourism programme, including Dolphin safari, at six sites in three states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal — along the country’s national river on the occasion of the ‘Ganga River Dolphin Day’ on Monday.
The ‘Ganga Praharis‘ – trained volunteers from among the local community working for cleanliness of Ganga – will take the tourists at these sites on boat rides to view Dolphin in the Ganga river.
Besides, a new campaign, ‘My Ganga My Dolphin’, was also launched on the occasion to conduct Dolphin census in 250 km stretch from Bijnor to Narora.
Launching the Ganga river ‘Dolphin Jalaj Safaris’ at Bijnor Barrage, Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh, the NMCG director general, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, noted that such initiatives will go a long way in making the people aware of the biodiversity of Ganga river and importance of conserving India’s national aquatic animal.
The other five sites, which witnessed multiple activities around Dolphin-based ecotourism on Monday, include Brijghat, Prayagraj and Varanasi in UP; Kahalgaon in Bihar and Bandel in West Bengal.
India celebrates October 5 every year as the ‘Ganga River Dolphin Day’ as this day Ganga Dolphins were declared national aquatic animals in 2010.
As announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, the Centre is also expected to launch ‘Project Dolphin’ soon to give a new impetus to the conservation and protection of the species in both riverine and marine ecosystems – the way India has been implementing conservation schemes for tigers and elephants under its dedicated ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Project Elephant’ programmes.
Being an indicator species of river ecosystems, Gangetic river Dolphins play a vital role in providing valuable ecosystem services. The Gangetic river Dolphins are found in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli river system of India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
In India, these Dolphins are sighted along deep river reaches in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. As per available assessment reports, there are about 3,700 Gangetic river Dolphins in the Indian river systems.