BISWANATH CHARIALI, Jan 12 - A recent survey of river dolphins in the river Brahmaputra has found that their numbers have been increasing.
According to information, data gathered during the counting showed that around 200 river dolphins were found in a vast area starting from the Koliabhomora bridge near Tezpur to Gohpur. The data was gathered based on the information received through sea-pod machines installed in the deep water of the river Brahmaputra that surveyed the movements, behaviour, food habits etc., of the river dolphins using cameras and lights of the said machine.
The survey was carried out by CAMPA-Dolphin Project of the Wildlife Institute of India. It may be mentioned that the Divisional Forest Officer of Biswanath Wildlife Division, Mukut Chandra Das had informed Dr Abdul Wakid (Project Scientist of CAMPA-Dolphin Project of Wildlife Institute of India) about the death of a dolphin near Gaitapu camp of 6th Edition of Kaziranga National Park recently. The DFO also requested Dr Abdul Wakid to conduct necessary morphometric measurements of the dolphin carcass alongwith sample collection for further investigation in association with the veterinary officer and forest staff of Eastern Range of Biswanath Wildlife Division.
Accordingly, a team of researchers from the CAMPA-Dolphin Project team of Wildlife Institute of India reached the incident site after travelling about 65 km by a speed boat from Silghat. The WII team undertook detailed morphometric measurements of the carcass, assisted the concerned veterinary officer in doing postmortem activities and collected samples for further analysis. The dead dolphin weighed 100 kilograms and it was 25 year old. It may be mentioned here that the river dolphin was enlisted as the endangered species in the Clause 1 of Wildlife Security Act, 1972 and its hunting is strictly prohibited. However, water and industrial pollution, construction of big dams, poaching by a section of fishermen etc have posed a threat to the life and existence of this endangered species.