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Focus on rivers and aquatic animals

Experts on Friday discussed issues related to aquatic animals that are facing the threat of extinction.

R.K. Sinha, popularly known as Dolphin Man for his contribution to the welfare of the mammals, spoke on Gangetic dolphins, smooth coated otters, gavialis, turtles among other aquatic animals. “Gavialis are fish-eating crocodiles found in the Ganga basin of India and Nepal. Though India and Bangladesh have a relatively good number of dolphins, we are still not happy. Otters are almost on the verge of extinction because they have been killed for their fur,” he said.

Sinha was one of the speakers at the three-day international symposium, River biodiversity: Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river system.

The symposium has been organised under the project of Ecosystems for life: a Bangladesh-India initiative project of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in association with the Patna University and the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh.

On the third day of the event, the experts would take a trip of the Ganga to watch the Gangetic dolphins.

Sinha added that the condition of soft-shelled turtles was also bad. “The turtles clean the river because they eat the dirt. It is difficult to protect them because they are not only killed but also smuggled,” he said.

The vice-chancellor of Patna University, Y.C. Simhadri, who was the chief guest at the event, focussed on the purification of the river. “It is our duty to conserve the river and the animals and mammals. We should ensure that the Ganga is not polluted,” he said.

The pro-vice-chancellor of Patna University, R.K. Verma, echoed Simhadri. “The dense population affects the existence of animals and mammals living in the rivers. We should ensure that the rivers flow freely and lesser number of barrages are constructed,” he said.