In a noteworthy move, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has bestowed the Gangetic Dolphin with a distinct honor, designating it as the state’s aquatic animal. This decision underscores the state’s unwavering dedication to wildlife conservation and the preservation of the purity of its rivers and ponds. It also marks the launch of the “Meri Ganga Meri Dolphin 2023” campaign, a comprehensive effort to raise awareness about the environment, protect these unique creatures, and safeguard the ecological health of the region. These initiatives align with the broader objective of preserving India’s rich biodiversity and ecological heritage.
Gangetic dolphins, a unique and endangered species, find their habitat in rivers like the Ganga, Yamuna, Chambal, Ghaghra, Rapti, and Gerua. Their sensitivity to water quality makes them crucial indicators of river health, emphasizing the significance of their conservation for the overall ecosystem.
Uttar Pradesh is home to an estimated population of around 2000 Gangetic dolphins. Recognizing their conservation value, the state government is actively taking measures to protect this species.
In addition to honoring the Gangetic Dolphin, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has proposed a plan to train individuals from villages linked to Tiger Reserves as guides. This initiative aims to create employment opportunities and instill awareness within local communities about the importance of wildlife conservation.
Collaborating with teams from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Forest Department, the government has initiated a rigorous dolphin population count using GPS technology. Their efforts are concentrated in the Garh Ganga area of Hapur district, Uttar Pradesh.
The “Meri Ganga Meri Dolphin 2023” campaign is an all-encompassing initiative aimed at the protection of the Gangetic Dolphin. Among its many activities is the comprehensive counting of dolphin populations along the Ganga River, spanning from Muzaffarpur Barrage to the entire Narora Barrage.
The counting process employs a unique approach. It utilizes two teams, each traveling at a speed of 10 kilometers per hour with a 10-minute interval between them. This method ensures accurate data collection and the identification of individual dolphins.
Historical data reveals fluctuations in the Gangetic dolphin population. For instance, the count stood at 22 dolphins in 2015, increasing to 41 dolphins in 2020. These figures underscore the importance of continuous monitoring and dedicated conservation efforts.
The designation of the Gangetic Dolphin as the state’s aquatic animal in Uttar Pradesh grants it additional protection and recognition. This move reaffirms their crucial role as indicators of river health and environmental well-being.