UP, Chief Minister Shri Akhilesh Yadav supports the campaign

Posted on 07 October 2012 by admin

*“My Ganga, My Dolphin”*
*Final Counts Of Dolphins : 671*

press-1WWF-India,* one of India’s leading conservation organizations with programmes and projects spread across the
country, in partnership with the *Uttar Pradesh Forest Department* and under the aegis of the *HSBC - supported “Rivers for Life, Life for Rivers”

program* has concluded a three day awareness program, *“My Ganga, My
Dolphin”* in and around *Uttar Pradesh from 5th to 7th October 2012.* The
campaign, being launched to survey the number of Gangetic river dolphins
present across a 2800 km stretch of the river Ganga and its tributaries
(Yamuna, Son, Ken, Betwa, Ghagra, and Geruwa), was also look at raising
awareness among local communities in and around the banks of the Ganga
about the presence and conservation of the national aquatic mammal as well
as help in capacity building of stakeholders associated with the
conservation of the mammal. The campaign declaration was made today,
7th October 2012, by Shri Akhilesh Yadav, Hon’ble Chief  Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
The Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica) commonly known as the
“Susu” or “Soons” is an endemic fauna of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and
Meghna river systems and is one of the four freshwater dolphins of the
world. Preferring to stay in deep waters in and around the confluence of
two or more rivers, the mammal shares its habitat with crocodiles,
freshwater turtles and wetland birds many of which are fish eaters and are
potential competitors with dolphins. Often known as the “Tiger of the
Ganges” the river dolphin is an indicator animal and has the same position
in a river ecosystem as a tiger in a forest, its presence indicating a sign
of a healthy river ecosystem.

press4Talking about the campaign *Shri Akhilesh Yadav, Hon’ble Chief  Minister
of Uttar Pradesh* said, “I appreciate the efforts being taken to conserve
the Gangetic dolphins through the “My Ganga, My Dolphin” campaign. I would
like to share that my government, along with focusing on preserving the
environment, is also consistently working towards conserving the wild life.
In this concern, we are conducting various awareness campaigns and
activities in the state of Uttar Pradesh to ensure conservation wildlife
and nature. I would like to congratulate all the members of WWF India,
Forest Department and HSBC Bank this successful endeavor. State Government
will provide full support of the campaign ”

*Naina Lal Kidwai, Country Head HSBC India and Director Asia
Pacific*:said, “HSBC is delighted to be associated with the ‘My Ganga My Dolphin’ campaign which
is an integral part of our commitment to the overall mission of
conservation of our water resources. As we all know the Ganga has enormous
relevance to India with millions dependent on the river for their
livelihood. Besides it is home to several natural species and a national
asset attracting tourists from across the globe. We believe in preserving
the Ganga in all its finery and this project is crucial for our endeavour.”*

*Dr Rupak De, PCCF* (Wildlife), UP FOREST DEPARTMENT said, “Never in the
history, has such a comprehensive survey of a Gangetic River Dolphin been
conducted. We hope the awareness campaign will generate interest and
ownership amongst various stakeholders and they will come forward to
conserve this endangered species”.

* *

*Mr. Ravi Singh, SG & CEO, WWF-India,* said, “The Ganges river dolphin, the
national aquatic animal of India, is a unique charismatic mega- fauna and
an indicator species for the river ecosystem. The rapid decline in the
number of dolphins across the country is of great concern and needs
immediate attention.  WWF-India has adopted the Ganges river dolphin as a
species of special concern and its work in the Upper Ganga river in the
state of Uttar Pradesh has only confirmed that habitat and aquatic
biodiversity conservation can succeed when the government, communities and
civil society collaborate and work together towards this end.”

Over the last few years the distribution range of these dolphins has shrunk
drastically, with their population being adversely affected by various
developmental activities like the construction of dams and barrages
resulting in lean river flows, indiscriminate fishing, heavy siltation of
rivers due to deforestation, pollution of the river and habitat
destruction. While the population of dolphin in 1982 was estimated to be
between 4000-5000 in India, now it is less than 2000 with an annual
mortality estimated to be at 130-160 animals. The mammal is now listed in
Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and categorized as
“Endangered” by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and enjoys high levels
of legal protection, nationally and internationally.

WWF-India  adopted the Ganges River Dolphin as a species of special concern
and initiated a Ganges River Dolphin Conservation programme in 1997.The
organization also conducted the first ever Scientific Status Survey of the
species in the country in collaboration with network partners. In the
process, more than 20 rivers were surveyed, covering a distance of
approximately 6000 km and several river stretches in the country were
identified as ideal habitats for Ganges River Dolphin population and hence
for prioritized conservation action. WWF-India has also formulated a
strategy and Action Plan for the Ganges River Dolphin conservation for the
state of Uttar Pradesh with the help of the State Forest Department and
established partner networks for Ganges River Dolphin Conservation in the

*About WWF-India:*
WWF-India is one of India’s leading conservation organizations with
programmes and projects spread across the country. The organization works
towards the conservation of biodiversity, natural habitats and the
reduction of humanity’s ecological footprint. The mission of WWF-India is
to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a
future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

सुरेन्द्र अग्निहोत्री
[email protected]
[email protected]

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