5 October 2020.
India celebrates Ganga River Dolphin Day on October 5 every year. The day is celebrated since 2010. This is because, it was on October 5, the dolphins were declared as National Aquatic Animal.
- This year, the National Mission for Clean Ganga launched the following programmes to celebrate Ganga River Dolphin day:
- Dolphin Safaris in six sites were launched. The sites are located in three states namely Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Under the safari, the “Ganga Praharis” (trained volunteers) will take the tourists on boat rides to view Dolphins.
- A new campaign called “My Ganga My Dolphin” was also launched in the 250 km stretch of the river.
- The campaign is to conduct census in the stretch.
- The Central Government recently launched “’Project Dolphin” to conserve and protect dolphins in the marine and riverine ecosystems.
- It was announced by PM Modi in his 2020 independence speech.
- The project was approved by National Ganga Council in December 2019.
- The council is headed by the Prime Minister of India. Project Dolphin is to be implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- It is a 10-year project that will focus on both sea and river dolphins.
Conservation of Dolphins
- The Gangetic Dolphins are included under First Schedule of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- They have been declared “Endangered” under IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
- They are listed under Appendix I as most endangered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
- They are listed under Appendix II of Conservation on Migratory Species.
- The Vikramshila Ganges Dolphin Sanctuary was established in Bihar under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The census says that there are about 2,500 to 3,000 Gangetic dolphins in India. Dams are the biggest disturbances to these dolphins as they disturb the migration of the species.