MIRZA, March 4 - The population of Gangetic river dolphins has declined considerably and they are on the verge of extinction. But, the authorities concerned are yet to take any positive steps to save the species. Locally known as �Sihu�, the species needs immediate attention for protection.
A group of fishermen while sharing their views with ANN Service, informed that there has been a considerable decline in the population of the dolphin population in the Brahmaputra over the years. �We used to encounter the Gangetic dolphin while fishing in a long stretch from Pandu to Goalpara, but now-a-days, we hardly get any,� the fishermen claimed. Giving the rationale behind the shrinking of dolphin population in the Brahmaputra, they said that pollution could be a reason for which, the dolphin population has started dwindling.
It has been reported that around 12 Gangetic river dolphins were sighted in the stretch of Brahmaputra from Simina village to Balagaon village in Kamrup district during September last year, but a majority of them have disappeared during this current year.
�Not a single growing calf of the Gangetic river dolphin has been sighted this year so far in the areas,� said Ainul Ali, a fisherman.
It is believed that those calves might have been poached or killed accidently by geting entangled in fishermen�s nets or get killed due to turbidity of water.
�Around 10 Gangetic dolphins were sighted in the stretch of the Brahmaputra from Simina to Balagaon in Palasbari LAC in Kamrup district last year, but now only four-five of them are there. Turbidity of water of the Brahmaputra river has resulted in reduction in size of the dolphin population,� said Hasmat Ali, a fisherman with a 50-year long experience of fishing in the Brahmaputra. An expert, who did not wish to be named observed that the dolphins might have migrated for a safer place in view of contamination of water. �Although I have no clinching evidence in this regard, yet I believe that dolphins have migrated to safer places,� he said, adding that loss of habitat�due to damming of rivers for irrigation and electricity generation, coupled with industrial activities are instrumental for shrinking of dolphin population.
It may be mentioned here that Gangetic River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is an endangered species under Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and its killing is prohibited. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has listed the Gangetic river dolphin as an endangered aquatic mammal of the world on its Red List of Threatened Species.