Tuesday, March 16, 2010

IUCN asks India to Save River Dolphins

The population of river Dolphins in India is merely 2500 and with adult Dolphins giving birth once every three years, the numbers may well be dwindling than increasing if proper attention is not given to the situation.

That is why on his recent trip to India to attend a two-day workshop organized by the working group for Action Plan for Dolphin Conservation set up by the Union ministry of forest and environment, IUCN's Cetacean (Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises) Specialists' Group chairman Randall Reeves said that the two most important things that Indian government must do to save River Dolphins is,
• Proper management of gill net fishing
• Appropriate water management policy

Gill net fishing is a method that is adopted by most fishermen in catching river fishes but many times dolphins too are caught in the net and killed. Reeves has asked the government to come up with solutions so that the dolphins can be freed as soon as they are caught in such nets.

The chairperson of the conservation committee and one of the few dedicated people working for the Dolphins, R.K . Sinha supported Reeves views where he said that steps should be taken to declare some stretches of Indian rivers as closed areas in which gill nets should be banned.

Reeves’ suggestion come at a time when the world has already seen China's negligence on this front leading to extinction of Yangtze river dolphins, also known as baiji.

Mr. Sinha, especially was thrilled to hear that the IUCN was willing to share their tagging expertise with Indian scientists.

"We have tagging experts and IUCN is willing to share their expertise with Indian scientists through field training so that tagging of Indian river dolphins could be undertaken without causing any harm to the animals," said Mr. Reeves.

"Tagging of dolphins would help in getting vital information about their home range, dispersal and migration pattern," said Sinha, who is credited with having conducted first authentic study on river dolphins' surface behaviour.

Image Credit
Flickr photo by Zemlinki

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