Written by Saniya Bano, a grade 9 student
Along the lines of the successful projects – Elephant and Project Tiger, India will have two more similar conservation missions – Project Dolphin and Project Lion, as announced by Prime Minister Modi. In his Independence Day speech, the Prime Minister, in a bid to conserve these two species, highlighted the commitment to the conservation and promotion of diversity. He stated that India was one of the few countries where forest cover has been expanding.
“We have successfully carried forward the Project Tiger and Project Elephant. The tiger population has increased” said Prime Minister Modi.
The Project Lion will involve the conservation of the Asiatic lion, through various means. For instance, habitat development will be carried out by engaging modern technologies in management, as well as by finding solutions for diseases in lions through focussed veterinary care and comprehensive research. The project will also address the human-wildlife conflict which involves local communities. Till now the Asiatic lions have been confined to the Gir National Parks and its surrounding environment in Gujarat Saurashtra.
The project will seek to provide the required infrastructure for the protection of the Indian lions. Also, issues of health infrastructure will also be looked into and solutions will be provided for. Project Lion, thus, will involve the conservation of lions and their habitat in a holistic manner.
The Project Dolphin announced by Prime Minister Modi will focus on the protection and the conservation of the Dolphins, both in the rivers and the oceans of India. The project will also aim to help the Gangetic dolphins, which were declared as a National Aquatic species in 2009.
What are the Gangetic river dolphins?
The Gangetic river dolphin is a species of freshwater dolphins found in the Ganga, Brahmaputra and their tributaries in India, which were placed under the “endangered” category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These dolphins are also categorized as endangered on the International Union for the red list.
One of the oldest creatures in the world, the Gangetic river dolphins were discovered in 1801. At one time they lived in the river systems of Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu rivers of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. However, now they are largely extinct from most of these areas. This is mainly due to their killing, habitat fragmentation by dams and unchecked fishing.
Some interesting facts
The interesting thing about these dolphins is that
- They can only live in freshwater and prefer deep waters
- They are blind
- They catch their prey using ultrasonic sound waves.
Project Dolphin will also include the conservation of the aquatic habitat and dolphins through the use of modern technology.
Project Dolphin will work with the fishermen and other rivers and ocean dependant populations to improve the livelihood of the local communities. Dolphin tourism has been promoted may countries, but India has not explored it much. Also, if dolphins are kept in marine parks and are safe, they will probably not be on the red – list on the international unions. Dolphins need to be protected because they are hunted by poachers to extract oil.
The Project lion and project Dolphin will also create employment opportunities by promoting tourism