Dolphin population declines in India’s only dolphin sanctuary

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Context:

  • Dredging, freight transport, pollution, and a lack of management plan leaves India’s only dolphin sanctuary, Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district, under threat.
  • The number of dolphins in the sanctuary had declined to 154 from 207 in 2015.
  • Dredging activity has increased manifold in recent years because the current Indian government has declared the stretch of the Ganga from Varanasi to Haldia in West Bengal National Waterway- 1.
  • The experts involved in the survey blamed increasing pollution, human interference, siltation and decreasing water flow and water level in the river.

About Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary

  • Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS), a 65km stretch of the Ganga River between Sultanganj and Kahalgaon towns in Bhagalpur, Bihar, India.
  • It is a protected area established in 1991 to protect the endangered Gangetic river dolphin.

About Gangetic Dolphin

  • Endangered under IUCN
  • Endemic to India’s Ganga- Brahmaputra belt
  • Found in freshwater habitat