Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bihar bans hunting of dolphins

PATNA: Alarmed by a steady decline in the number of dolphins, declared a national aquatic animal by the Prime Minister, Bihar chief minister Nitish

Kumar has ordered a strict enforcement of the ban on the hunting of the man's best friend.

Official sources said Nitish has directed the district magistrates of Patna, Bhagalpur and Buxar to see that the ban order has been adhered to.

Officials have been asked to keep close surveillance along the Ganga river banks to stop the hunting, the District Magistrate of Patna, J K Sinha, said.

Patna and Bhagalpur districts are the two districts where dolphins have been reportedly found dead in the past

The decision to declare the Ganga dolphin as an Indian national aquatic animal was taken at a meeting of the newly-formed Ganga River Basin Authority in New Delhi that called for accelerated steps to clean up the river.

The meeting, which took place early this month, was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Early this year, alarmed at the death of about six endangered Ganga river dolphins in Bihar, wildlife activists had called for urgent action.

Around six dolphins were killed by poachers and fishermen in the last one month alone in the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, one of the four freshwater dolphin sanctuaries in the world.