With the Centre declaring Gangetic Dolphin as the national aquatic animal,the state Forest department is preparing plans to protect and conserve this mammal.
With three sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh acting as the natural habitat of dolphins,the department is set to prepare a plan to enable breeding and also keep a track of the dolphin population.
Because of its declining population,the Gangetic Dolphin was declared a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
Known for being friendly to humans,the Gangetic Dolphin or the Platinista Gangetica is found in Ganga at Meeruts Hastinapur Sanctuary. They can also be seen in river Chambal at the Chambal Sanctuary on the borders of Etawah and Agra districts.
Moreover,with 40 dolphins,Gerua river at Behraich districts Katarniyaghat Sanctuary attracts many tourists.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF),Wildlife,B K Patnaik said that though the department includes dolphins in its schedule of protection of endangered species,till date,no specific project has been undertaken for them.
He added: The Gerua,a tributary of the Ganga,is one of the best habitats for the mammal in Uttar Pradesh. Since this river passes through Katarniya Ghat,we have been able to provide the best-suited natural habitat.
The department also plans to undertake a dolphin census to determine its exact number.
We are waiting for a major project from the Union government where we can also pitch in to protect the mammal, Patnaik added.
Speaking to The Indian Express,Katarniyaghat Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) R K Singh said: In the last two years,the dolphin population has increased by around 1.5 per cent.
In Bulandshahar district,the department is conducting a project with World Wildlife Fund a Ramsar Site has been marked between Brij Ghat and Narora dam for the conservation of migratory birds. PCCF (Forests) D N S Suman said,Since some dolphins were also spotted here,we are working towards their conservation as well.