GUWAHATI, Feb 9 – In an effort to make the river dolphin and river ecosystem conservation process easier, more effective and scientific, the Gangetic Dolphin Research and Conservation Initiative of Aaranyak has introduced the use of modern scientific equipment viz., global positioning system (GPS), binoculars, camera, field guidebooks, etc., among the community members of 30 most important dolphin habitats across Assam.These habitats are also called a Dolphin Conservation Network (DCN) sites.
Meanwhile, in a four-day training programme conducted by the organization from January 21 to 24 in Guwahati, two community youths from each of these 30 DCN sites were extensively trained to employ the new techniques and equipment according to different monitoring methods.
“Since the inception of the community-based Dolphin Conservation Network (DCN) in 2008, we have been engaging local community people from 30 most priority dolphin habitats across Assam. This network has been helping significantly in preventing dolphin mortality and increasing dolphin numbers in the priority sites. This time we aimed to further strengthen the DCN by facilitating advanced monitoring technique and equipment which would make their task more scientific and effective,” Dr Abdul Wakid, head of the Gangetic Dolphin Research and Conservation Programme of Aaranyak, said.
Dr Wakid added that this time Aaranyak had extended the existing work of DCN members from dolphin monitoring to river ecosystem monitoring along with engaging more community people.
During the first two days of the training sessions, the participants were familiarized with the techniques and protocols of scientific monitoring of river dolphin and river ecosystem of their area. This was followed up with two days’ field practical of the protocols along with the use of the equipment.
As a follow-up of the training programme, the trained DCN members with more community people will systematically monitor dolphins and river ecosystems of their area under the close coordination and guidance of the Gangetic Dolphin Research and Conservation Initiative of Aaranyak, which is expected to bring in positive changes to the endangered river dolphin and the rich river ecosystem of their respective areas and the mighty Brahmaputra river system as a whole.