The Ganga Dolphin Census and ‘My Ganga, My Dolphin’ campaign 2015 come to a close with a heartening 1,263 in the surveyed 3,350 km stretch | WWF India

The Ganga Dolphin Census and ‘My Ganga, My Dolphin’ campaign 2015 come to a close with a heartening 1,263 in the surveyed 3,350 km stretch

Posted on
09 October 2015
Highlights
  • Shri Sanjeev Saran, Principal Secretary (Forests)  released the census findings in a closing ceremony to felicitate participants at Pluto Hall, Indira Pratishtan, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow  
  • Most intensive, transparent baseline data on current population and distribution of the Ganga river Dolphins
  • The low and high estimates present the range which provide the confidence levels of the total counts recorded
  • Uttar Pradesh becomes the first state to conduct the Dolphin Census using a unified methodology for the second time  
  • Stretches of Varanasi downstream which was not surveyed in 2012 recorded 269 Dolphins. 125 Km stretch upstream of Fatehpur recorded 175 Dolphins.
  • Stretches of Ghaghra, Rapti, Gandhak, Chambal recorded an increase where as Ramsar site Brijghat to Narora recorded a decrease
  • A collaborative effort by Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and WWF-India supported by National Mission for Clean Ganga  
  • 200 people contributed 6000 hours in 21 teams to survey the Ganga system in 4 days.  
  • Communication activities held in 90 villages sensitizing them on Dolphin conservation. Over 900 people interviewed as part of the ‘My Ganga, My Dolphin’ Campaign
  • Rivers covered including Ganga, Ramganga, Yamuna, Chambal, Ken, Betwa, Son, Sharda, Geruwa, Gahagra Gandak, Rapti, covered during October 5-8, 2015. No Dolphins in Ramganga, Son, Ken
Lucknow, October 09, 2015:
The Ganga River Dolphin Census, a collaborative effort by Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and WWF-India, supported by National Mission for Clean Ganga was conducted between October 05 – October 08, 2015. Shri. Sanjeev Sharan, Principal Secretary of Forests, announced 1,263 Dolphins in the stretches covered. Uttar Pradesh has previously recorded a population of 671. This year, stretches that recorded relatively high numbers included Varanasi downstream not surveyed earlier in 2012 recorded 269 Dolphins. The 125 Km stretch upstream of Fatehpur recorded 175 Dolphins.  
 
Releasing the Census details, Shri. Sanjeev Sharan, Principal Secretary, Forests – Uttar Pradesh Government, said, “We have received tremendous support from various teams associated with the project and their dedication to this exercise is commendable. We are happy to announce that we have 1,263 Dolphins in our rivers. We plan to conduct this exercise annually to monitor the habitats of the dolphins and minimize the threats they face. The ‘My Ganga My Dolphin’ campaign is an important initiative in sensitizing communities on the importance of conserving the dolphins and reducing man animal conflict”. Mr. Sharan also mentioned setting up a Dolphin conservation network to take this initiative further.
 
Elaborating on the findings of the census and the ‘My Ganga, My Dolphin’, Mr. Suresh Babu, Director- Rivers, Wetlands and Water Policy WWF-India, said,Interesting patterns have emerged from the data recorded. This was possible due to the collaborative efforts of all our partners. There has been an increase in the overall count and some variations noted across the stretches. Some stretches have reported an increase while there has been in a decrease in others and the reasons need to be analysed. With this count, information on the threats mapped along with the data gathered on community perceptions, we hope that a robust conservation strategy can be developed in the months to come”.

The survey teams interviewed around 700 community members across 80 villages along the river in the course of the journey through the ‘My Ganga, My Dolphin’ campaign that was conducted as a part of the census to raise awareness on the importance of conserving India’s National Aquatic Animal.

The methodology of recording the lowest, highest and best count has enabled the data to be near accurate and will contribute to strengthening the data and information on dolphin population from across the distribution range of the species in the Uttar Pradesh state. Uttar Pradesh is the first state to have conducted this census twice in a participatory manner using a unified methodology. The census was conducted following a simple technique (Direct Count Method) based on IUCN survey protocol for studying freshwater Cetaceans. Surveys were conducted between 0700-1100hr (morning) and 1500-1730hr (evening). In addition to estimating the population of Gangetic Dolphins in Uttar Pradesh, a habitat evaluation was also conducted to record specific threats faced by the species.
 
For more information, please contact
 
Dr. Prashant Verma
Chief Conservator of Forests, Eco development
Uttar Pradesh Forest Department
Lucknow
+91 9936404340|+919415115708
 
Suresh Babu
WWF India
+91 9818997999
 
Shilpa Negi
Out-There PR & Communications
+91 97116 77211
shilpa@out-therepr.com

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