The body of a male adult Dolphin measuring over 5 feet, was found in the gangetic sabbalpur diara of Patna district, by the Bihar Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC). Allegedly, poachers have been suspected to be behind the death of the Dolphin. With the ‘National animal’ status accorded to the aquatic gangetic Dolphin, only by India, the news is distressing.

The BSTDC personnel are entrusted with the task of promoting diara tourism, in the region. Naveen kumar, deputy general manager, after receiving news of the death of Dolphin immediately informed the forest officials and rushed to the location.

He said, “It appears that poachers after killing the mammal were trying to take the body away but realising that they might be identified by the people present at the food plaza, they left the animal on the bank and fled the place.”

 He maintained that the left side of the Dolphin’s body bore injury marks and on the right side of the body threads had been tied to the fins.

The Ganga river Dolphin is a schedule I animal coming under wild life (protection) Act, 1972 and as such calls for maximum attention in preserving and protecting these Dolphins. Surendra singh, Patna Divisional forest officer (DFO), did not offer conclusive reason for the death of Dolphin. He said more evidence was needed by way of post mortem report to ascertain the exact reason behind the death.

An awareness drive has been launched to educate people on the importance of preserving the mammal. Recently, patrolling of Ganga, the stretch between Maner and Barh has also been undertaken by the forest department to keep a vigil on the poachers. These measures do not seem to have translated in to positive results even as 5 Dolphins were found killed in 2010, in Patna district: three of them being killed by the poachers near the city area of Patna and two appear to have been accidentally killed, trapped in fishing net. Three people were arrested in connection with illegal trading of Dolphin fat, by the forest department.

Referring to the killing of this particular Dolphin   R.K.Sinha, India’s ‘Dolphin Man’ said, be it intentional or accidental, killing of Dolphins cannot be stopped unless patrolling is intensified: the poachers should be dealt with sternly, emphasising the need to send strong messages to the killers.

However, Gopal Sharma, scientist, of the Zoological Survey of India was appreciative of the measures adopted by the forest department in the recent times, in protecting these Dolphins.

He said “The impact of these steps are visible as only five dolphins were killed in 2010. But there is a need to increase the awareness level of fishermen and other stakeholders as well so that people can understand the importance of the aquatic animal and number of accidental or intentional killing could be brought to zero.”

The DFO, Patna, said only hired boats are being used for patrolling now, but with the long stretch of river to be covered for intense monitoring, proposal to buy four motor boats are being worked out.

It is unfortunate that these innocent, endangered Dolphins get killed due to the greed of poachers.

-Freelance Contributor

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About Atula Gupta

Atula Gupta is the Founder and Editor of Her work has appeared in a number of international websites, dailies and magazines including The Wire, Deccan Herald, New Indian Express, Down to Earth and Heritage India on issues related to environment and its conservation. She is also the author of Environment Science Essentials, a set of books for school children. She hopes this website provides a platform for people to be aware about species in the verge of extinction and heighten their conservation efforts.

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