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Decrease in Dolphin Number

Published: 20th Jul, 2020

Context

According to the latest census report prepared by the Madhya Pradesh forest department dolphins’ number in Chambal River has been reduced by 13 percent in four years.

About

  • According to the latest census report of the Madhya Pradesh forest department, there are just 68 dolphins left in the 435-kilometer-long Chambal river sanctuary which passes through three states (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan).
  • According to the census study, the number of dolphins in the Chambal River has decreased by 13 percent in four years. The trend of diminishing dolphin numbers has continued since 2016, when there were 78.
  • Dolphins in Chambal have a maximum carrying capacity of 125.
  • Dolphins were first observed in the Chambal River near Etawah in 1985. At the time, the number exceeded 110, but poaching diminished it.
  • The Forest Department of MP has collaborated with the scientists of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to research safeguarding and increasing the population of dolphins in Chambal.
  • Reasons for Decline:
    • Unfavorable habitat
    • Illegal sand harvest from the riverbed.
      • To protect the river's ecology and fauna, the Supreme Court's Central Empowered Committee (CEC) issued a ruling prohibiting mining in the sanctuary region in 2006.
    • Water removal projects at Morena, Dholpur, and Kota disrupt the river's whole ecology while lowering water level and flow.

Gangetic Dolphin

  • Scientific Name: Platanista gangetica.
  • It is India's national aquatic animal, also known as 'Susu'.
  • Habitat: It may be found in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh along the Ganges-Meghna-Brahmaputra and Karnaphuli-Sangu rivers.
    • They are spread over seven states in India: Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.
    • For a viable environment, a depth of at least 3 meters and a flow rate of 266.42-289.67 m3/sec are required.
  • Characteristics: It has primitive eyes and utilizes echolocation (ultrasonic sound) to travel and hunt.
  • Protection Status:
    • IUCN Status: Endangered
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule 1
    • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix-I.

      Chambal River

      • It is a major tributary of Yamuna which is 960 km long.
      • It is the chief tributary of the Yamuna River and rises in the Vindhya Range just south of Mhow, western Madhya Pradesh state.
      • Flow: Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
      • Right Bank Tributaries: Parbati, Kali Sindh, Shipra.
      • Left Bank Tributaries: Banas, Mej.
      • Main Power Projects/ Dam: Gandhi Sagar Dam, Rana Pratap Sagar Dam, Jawahar Sagar Dam, and Kota Barrage.
      • The National Chambal Sanctuary is located along the Chambal River at the intersection of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
        • It is home to highly endangered species like the gharial, red-crowned roof turtle, and Ganges river dolphin.

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