Asia's first national dolphin research centre to be built in Patna: All you need to know!
The Gangetic Dolphin is India’s national aquatic animal. It is one of four freshwater dolphin species in the world.
India and Asia's first National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC) will be set up on the banks of the River Ganges in the Patna University campus in Bihar. The work on the centre is expected to begin after the monsoon season.
According to a survey conducted in 2018-19 in the river Ganga by the teams of experts, around 1,455 dolphins were sighted in the river.
The deputy chief minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi said that the state government is working hard to set up the national dolphin research centre in the premises of Patna University. He added saying that a 7 km long stretch between Sultanganj and Kahalgao in Bhagalpur district has already been declared as Vikram Sheela Gangetic dolphin sanctuary.
National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC): Key Highlights
• The setting of the National Dolphin Research Centre is a major step towards conservation of the Gangetic river dolphin.
• The centre will be set up on a 4,400 square metre plot of land within the Patna University. The centre would be about 200 metres from the Ganga river.
• The construction of the NDRC building was recently cleared by the Bihar urban development department.
• The centre is expected to be set up by 2022. The project was initially proposed in 2011. Montek Singh Ahulwalia, then-deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, had approved the project proposal during his visits in mid-2011 to Bihar.
• However, the project continued hanging in balance for the next eight years. The Bihar state government has now finally decided to expedited the work and complete it by next year.
The National Dolphin Research Centre is expected to boost up the conservation efforts of the endangered Gangetic Dolphin and enable in-depth research on dolphins including their changing behaviour, food habits, survival skills, cause of death and other aspects.
NDRC would be beneficial for project Dolphin, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2020.
What is Project Dolphin?
• Project Dolphin was announced by the Prime Minister along with Project Lion during his Independence Day speech last year to replicate the success of Project Tiger.
• Project Dolphin aims to protect and conserve Dolphins in both rivers and oceans of the country.
• The project will involve the conservation of the Dolphins and the aquatic habitat through the use of modern technology, especially in anti-poaching activities and enumeration.
• The project will aim to engage the fishermen and other river/ocean-dependent communities, which will give a boost to biodiversity and also improve the livelihood opportunities of the local communities.
• The project will aim to engage the fishermen and other river/ocean-dependent communities.
• The project will also envisage activities that will help in the mitigation of pollution in rivers and in the oceans.
• The Gangetic Dolphin is India’s national aquatic animal. It is one of four freshwater dolphin species in the world.
• The other three freshwater dolphin species are found in China's Yangtze River (now extinct), Pakistan's Indus river and South America's Amazon river.
• The Gangetic Dolphin is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent, especially in Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems.
• The Gangetic Dolphin has been categorized as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List.
• The dolphins prefer water that is at least 5 ft to 8 ft deep. They are usually found in turbulent waters, where they have enough fish to feed on.
• The dolphins act as indicators of the overall condition of the ecosystem. They provide the status of other species in that ecosystem and the river, as they are extremely vulnerable to changes in water quality and flow.
• Hence, the presence of dolphins in the Ganga gives a sign of a healthy ecosystem.
• Bihar has around half of the country’s estimated 3,000 dolphin population.