Census of Indus River dolphin

  • IASbaba
  • November 1, 2021
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Census of Indus River dolphin

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Conservation; Biodiversity 

Context The census of one of the world’s most threatened cetaceans, the Indus river dolphin ( Platanista gangetica minor ) — is all set to commence as part of the Centre’s pan-India project. 

  • Punjab’s wildlife preservation wing shall also protect the dolphins and their natural habitat.
  • The project is to be implemented over five years.

Key takeaways 

  • Engage the community: Alongside research, importance will be on engaging the riparian (relating to wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams) communities by encouraging community-led biological monitoring. 
  • Model villages: Villages around the hot spot sites of dolphin occurrence will be developed as models for community-led conservation. 
  • ‘Beas-Dolphin Mitras: Extension programmes will be held to develop a group of dedicated individuals, called ‘Beas-Dolphin Mitras’ of the river Beas. 
  • Dolphin eco tourism: The project also will embark on dolphin eco tourism. 
  • Adopting participatory process: Participatory process shall be adopted to address various water conservation-related issues, including protection of freshwater habitats and species

About Indus dolphin

  • It is a freshwater dolphin 
  • IUCN status: Endangered 
  • Until recently, it was believed that these dolphins were endemic to Pakistan. 
  • But in 2007, a remnant but viable population of Indus dolphins was discovered in Punjab’s Harike wildlife sanctuary and in the lower Beas river. 
  • Since its discovery, research is being done by Punjab’s Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation in partnership with WWF-India providing an understanding of current distribution, habitat use and population abundance. 
  • Indus river dolphin was declared the State aquatic animal of Punjab in 2019.

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