The Ganga dolphin safari was launched by National Mision for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to mark the Gangetic Dolphin Day that falls on October 5. My Ganga My Dolphin was also launched to conduct Dolphin census in the 250-km stretch from Bijnor to Narora.
The move is aimed at preserving the ecology and promoting tourism. The NMCG has launched ‘Dolphin Jalaj Safari’ at six places across the country. These places include Bijnor, Prayagraj Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, while Kahalgaon in Bihar and Bandel in West Bengal.
The South Asian river dolphin is an endangered freshwater or river dolphin found in the region of the Indian subcontinent, which is split into two subspecies, the Ganges river dolphin and the Indus river dolphin.
According to a report in Times of India, the trained volunteers known as ‘Ganga Prahris’ will take the tourists to these sites for boat rides to view the mammal. Apart from dolphins, tourists are also promised sightings of gharials found in good numbers in the regions.
Rajeev Ranjan Mishra, NMCG director-general said, “This is a one-of-its-kind move to integrate Ganga conservation and Gangetic dolphins with local livelihoods which are in line with the concept of Arth Ganga”.
The statement released by the Jal Shakti Ministry mentioned, “This is a joint venture of WII, NMCG and the State Forest Departments, for sustainable tourism linking livelihood through Dolphin Conservation for ecotourism along the Ganga River.”
Project Dolphin was announced in 2020 by the Prime Minister in his independent speech and was approved by National Ganga Council. The Ministry of Environment is implementing the project, Forest and Climate Change.
It was launched with an aim to conserve and protect dolphins in the marine and riverine ecosystems. The 10-year project focuses on both sea and river dolphins. As per the Dolphin Census, there are about 2,500 – 3,000 Gangetic Dolphins in India.