Hoogly River will get India’s girst community reserve to protect Ganga River Dolphins while West Bengal will become first state to such measures for protecting endangered dolphins who are at the verge extinction. The Hoogly river on which the reserve will be built is being set up on a 500 km long stretch of the Ganges which passes through Kolkata before meeting the Bay of Bengal in the Sunderbans.
The need to save dolphins arrived as the Hoogly stretch does not fall under a forest and a sanctuary which makes these dolphins prone to extinction. The reserve will be made in the Hoogly River, between the Malda and South 24 Paraganas districts.
The decision to make the first reserve dedicate to save dolphins was taken at a meeting of the State Wildlife Board.
“A committee is being formed to examine in what way the community reserve would be set up in the Hooghly River between Malda and Sundarbans. We’ll take all stakeholders together in this initiative. It is expected that it would be ready within a year’s time,” Azam Zaidi, Chief Wildlife Warden, and Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife).
He further added that Indian Wildlife Protection Act grants permission to make such reserves to protect animal and plant species. Since Ganges dolphin population has been on a constant decline and now they are at the verge of extinction, thus SWT stepped up to protect these human-friendly fishes.
According to reports, there are less than 2,000 dolphins left in the river Ganga. Experts say, human activities like indiscriminate killing, pollution, dams etc are the reasons that have put Ganges River Dolphin also known as the ‘Tiger of The Ganges’ on the verge of extinction.
Once, the reserve is made, killing of fishes in the region will stop. Since, thousands of fishermen depend on fishes to earn their bread, Zaidi said that the actions will be taken to protect these fishermen.