Pollution worry for dolphin sanctuary

Numbers of many species such as dolphins found in the Ganga are rapidly declining due to pollution in the river, a survey conducted by a senior teacher at Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University (TMBU) and environmentalist has revealed.

By Gautam Sarkar in Bhagalpur
  • Published 18.05.18
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Bhagalpur: Numbers of many species such as dolphins found in the Ganga are rapidly declining due to pollution in the river, a survey conducted by a senior teacher at Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University (TMBU) and environmentalist has revealed.

D.N. Choudhary, environmentalist, ornithologist and senior zoology teacher at the varsity, recently surveyed a 70 km stretch of the river from Sultanganj to Kahalgaon. The stretch, which is part of the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, has become very polluted and the number of the dolphins is dwindling, according to Choudhary. Same is the fate of other animals such as gharials, tortoises and migratory birds, he said.

"Fish production of fishes in the area is also witnessing a sharp decline mainly due to the river pollution which also affects the dolphins," pointed out Choudhary, who was also part of another survey - with the local forest department - for eco-tourism feasibility.

According to Choudhary, there were nearly 250 dolphins in the stretch in 2015 and the number has reduced to around 170.

"In the preliminary observation, we witnessed two immediate factors: rampant pollution and lack of water in the riverbed, which affects the dolphins," he said.

Similarly, he said, numbers of migratory birds such as red-crested pochard (commonly known as lalsar), bar-headed goose, and Brahminy duck, sightings of which were common in the area from November to mid April, are on the decline.

"It is a matter of serious concern here," he said.