The Gangetic river dolphin is India’s national aquatic animal. The Gangetic Dolphin is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent, especially in Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems. 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. 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. Also, Bihar is home to an estimated 3000 Gangetic Dolphins.
India’s first dolphin research centre is to be opened in Patna . theIndia and Asia’s first National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC) will be set up on the banks of the River Ganges in Patna University campus in Bihar. The work on the centre is expected to begin after the monsoon season. The deputy chief minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi said that the state government is working hard to set up the national dolphin research centre in the premises of Patna University. He added saying that a 7 km long stretch between Sultanganj and Kahalgao in Bhagalpur district has already been declared as Vikram Sheela Gangetic dolphin sanctuary.
The centre will be set up on a 4,400 square metre plot of land within Patna University. The centre would be about 200 metres from the Ganga river. The construction of the NDRC building was recently cleared by the Bihar urban development department.
Project Dolphin was started on the lines of Project Tiger, which has helped in increasing the tiger population. This initiative got in-principle approval in December 2019 at the first meeting of the National Ganga Council (NGC), headed by the Prime Minister. This is a “Special Conservation program” taken up to save the Gangetic Dolphin. This project will be implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.