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.
- 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.