Bahraich (UP), March 26 (IANS) The Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) will soon be developed as the second research centre of the National Aquatic Animal (Gangetic dolphin) in the country.
A proposal in this regard has already been sent to the Centre by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
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The proposal seeks Centre’s nod to set up a dolphin research centre along the bank of Geruwa river, which flows through KWS in Bahraich.
According to B Prabhakar, field director (FD), Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR), the proposal is pending at the level of the Government of India.
As per the proposal, the area would be improvised and focused for boosting production of Gangetic dolphins. Besides, a rapid action force would be deployed to deal with poachers/hunters.
In Uttar Pradesh, dolphins are found in the stretches of Ganga River from Bijnor to Narora, in the Chambal on the border of Etawah and Agra and in Ghaghra and Geruwa river in KWS in Bahraich.
The Gangetic dolphin is listed endangered by the IUCN and is placed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Earlier in 2009, the Union government had declared dolphins as the national aquatic animal.
Akash Deep Badhwan, divisional forest officer of KWS, said that KWS is a closed habitat of Gangetic dolphins.
He said about a 12-kilometre stretch of the Geruwa River within the sanctuary area is protected and monitored most of the time. Fishing is strictly prohibited while the river stretch is monitored by motor boats and watch-towers.
Moreover, the Gharial and boating centre is already there on the bank of the river. So, it is very logical to establish a research centre in the sanctuary area. He said the centre would certainly be helpful in the conservation of the freshwater aquatic species.
The national aquatic animal Gangetic dolphin, he said, is flourishing in the Geruwa River. This is in stark contrast to the situation in the Ganga and the Ghaghra rivers where it is disappearing fast.
The dolphins were reviving in the Geruwa as its water was fresh and clean. The river originates in Nepal and enters the sanctuary through eight channels.
According to an estimate, there are about 2,000 Gangetic dolphins in different rivers in India. Of these, about 60 to 80 are present in the Geruwa River in KWS.
As of now, the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) of Bhagalpur in Bihar is the only dolphin sanctuary in the country.