As per a census conducted, about 1,150 Gangetic dolphins have been found along 1,000 kilometres of the river Ganga and its two tributaries, the Gandak and the Ghaghara, in Bihar.
This as per the environmentalists is a sign of a ‘healthy river ecosystem’ as the dolphins can survive only in clean and fresh water. As per a report in Down to Earth, the Deputy Director Gopal Sharma of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) said “We have found about 1,150 dolphins in these rivers during our extensive survey which lasted about a month and we think the population is stable,”. The survey was conducted simultaneously in all three rivers using direct counting method, under which, aquatic animals are counted based on their size and height when they come to the surface to breathe.
The state government-funded census was conducted by ZSI, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Tilka Manjhi University, Bhagalapur between November 18 and December 10, 2018. The survey lasted for 23 days.
The teams involved in survey also found 45 bird species, some of them endangered and migratory, apart from various species of fish, along with presence of otters
The campaign to save the freshwater mammal took a sudden leap after the Centre declared the Gangetic dolphin as India’s “national aquatic animal” in 2009. This happened while the Manmohan Singh-led government was at the Centre. The government had acted on the proposal moved by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.