Release of Gangetic Dolphin Conservation Action Plan, India
The Prime Minister of India declared the Gangetic Dolphin as the National Aquatic Animal of India on the 5th October, 2009 and it was formally notified on 10th May, 2010. A Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin was then prepared by a Working Group under the Chairmanship of Prof. Ravindra Kumar Sinha, a Member of the IUCN CSG. The Conservation Action Plan was officially released on 1st November, 2010 in the Second Meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority chaired by the Prime Minister of India. Sri Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of Environment and Forests emphasized that conservation of the Gangetic Dolphin is crucial to the welfare of the Ganges river ecosystem and highlighted that the presence of the dolphin in a river system signals its good health and biodiversity.
The Plan has several important features that will ensure the existence of healthy populations of the Gangetic dolphin in the Ganga River system. First, it proposes a set of detailed surveys to assess the population of the dolphin and the threats it faces. Second, immediate actions for dolphin conservation, such as the creation of protected areas and the restoration of degraded ecosystems, are detailed. Third, community involvement and the mitigation of human-dolphin conflict are proposed as methods that will ensure the long-term survival of the dolphin in the rivers of India.