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Decrease in Dolphin Number

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    20th Jul, 2020

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.

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 435-kilometer-long Chambal river sanctuary which passes through three states (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan).
  • According to the census report, dolphins’ number in Chambal River has been reduced by 13 percent in four years. The decreasing trend is continuing from 2016 when there were 78 dolphins.
  • The maximum carrying capacity of dolphins in Chambal is 125.
  • The dolphins were spotted for the first time in 1985 in Chambal River near Etawah. That time, the number was more than 110 but poaching reduced the number.
  • 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 extraction of sand from the river bed.
      • In 2006, the Supreme Court’s Central Empowered Committee (CEC) ordered a ban on mining in the sanctuary area to save the flora and fauna of the river.
    • Water withdrawal projects in Morena, Dholpur, and Kota are disturbing the whole ecosystem of the river and decreasing the water level and flow.

Gangetic Dolphin

  • Scientific Name: Platanista gangetica.
  • It is India's national aquatic animal and is popularly known as ‘Susu’.
  • Habitat: It is found in parts of the Ganges-Meghna-Brahmaputra and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
    • They are distributed across seven states in India: Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.
    • It requires at least 3 metre depth and 266.42-289.67 m3 per sec flow of water for sustainable habitat.
  • Characteristics: It has rudimentary eyes and uses echolocation (through ultrasonic sound) to navigate 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 river Chambal on the tri-junction of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
        • It is known for critically endangered gharial, the red-crowned roof turtle, and the endangered Ganges river dolphin.

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