Source: Down To Earth
List of Contents
What is the news?
The construction work on India’s first dolphin research centre is to commence in Patna after the monsoon this year. The National Dolphin Research Centre is coming up on the 4,400 square metre plot of land on the premises of Patna University, near the banks of the Ganga. Recently, the Bihar urban development department has recently cleared the construction of NDRC’s building about 200 metres from the Ganga.
About National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC):
- Bihar is home to around half of the estimated 3,000 Gangetic dolphins in India.
- During the mid-2011 and early 2012 Montek Singh Ahulwalia, then-deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, had approved the proposal to set up NDRC as he was impressed by the sight of dolphins along the 22 km stretch of the Ganga. But the construction has been delayed so far.
Advantages of setting up NDRC:
- The National Dolphin Research Centre would boost conservation efforts for river dolphins and would provide an opportunity for in-depth research on them. This includes dolphin’s changing behaviour, survival skills, food habits, cause of death and other aspects.
About Gangetic Dolphin:
- The Gangetic river dolphin is India’s national aquatic animal.
- It is a Schedule I animal under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
- It has been declared an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- The Gangetic river dolphin is one of four freshwater dolphin species in the world.
- The other three are found in the Yangtze River in China (now extinct), the Indus river in Pakistan and the Amazon river in South America.
- The dolphin is found in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It is blind and finds its way and prey in river waters through echolocation.
- Dolphins prefer water that is at least five to eight feet deep. They are usually found in turbulent waters, where there are enough fish for them to feed on.
- Gangetic dolphins live in a zone where there is little or no current, helping them save energy. If they sense danger, they can dive into deep waters. The dolphins swim from the no-current zone to the edges to hunt for fish and return.