A one-day workshop was organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in collaboration with WII and WWF-India today for developing a charter that aims for enhancing the population of Ganges River Dolphin by 2030. The workshop, with more than 100 attendees, included participants from all SMCGs, Forest Departments, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Climate Change (MoEF & CC), NGOs, Ganga ‘Mitras’ & ‘Praharis’ (volunteers), media and technical experts from Patna University, Vikramshila, WII and IITs.
Today, the total population of the Gangetic Dolphin stands between 2500 to 3000, out of which more than 80% inhabit the Ganga and its tributaries. Government of India had declared the Ganga River Dolphin ‘the National Aquatic Animal’ in the first meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) on October 5, 2009.
DG NMCG today said that based on the consultation, a charter will be developed to enhance the population of the Gangetic Dolphin. “NMCG has been relentlessly working for the conservation and protection of the species and giving its due support to the Ministry of Environment and Forest, and Climate Change, to develop robust Dolphin Actin Plans over the years. We will develop enabling policies for the integration of Dolphin conservation at State and national level,’’he said.
Ravi Singh, SG & CEO, WWF said,“We have lost Yangtze River Dolphin species which was found in the river in China and we should focus on protecting out remaining dolphin species including Ganga River Dolphins and Indus River Dolphins in India. We need to have models similar to Conservation Assured | Tiger Standard (CA|TS) for conservation of River Dolphins.”.
Dr. S.A Hussain, Scientist G, WII highlighted action points that needs to be taken as priority, which are initiate state wise population surveys, setting up of Pas/reserve for dolphins, develop capacity of stakeholders, involve local communities in dolphin conservation and conduct education and awareness programs. The consultation also looked at issues including establishing baselines and setting goals with the objective on agreeing on methodology or methodologies for Dolphin census across states in India, securing Dolphin habitats for establishing thresholds of river flows and quality in critical dolphin habitats and, potential gains for Dolphin Conservation through developing Conservation Assured Standards and community led conservation for identifying enablers needed to mainstream the good practices in community led conservation.