Lakhimpur Kheri (UP): The number of Gangetic river dolphins in the Terai region of Katarniaghat of Dudhwa tiger reserve has increased as per the ongoing survey of the forest department.
"Nearly five dozen dolphins were sighted in Katarnighat area during the three-day long massive survey conducted jointly by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and forest department which concluded today," official sources said here.
The figure included 39 dolphins from Gerua river, which originates in Nepal and comes to India through Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, up to Kailashpuri barrage in Kheri district. Earlier, only 33 dolphins were sighted there.
Gangetic river dolphins are known to be highly environment sensitive and they can survive only in unpolluted waters.
Chief conservator of forest and field director of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Shailesh Prasad, said the river dolphins have been awarded the status of national aquatic animal at par with national animal tiger and it was matter of joy that their numbers has increased.
Associate director, WWF (Fresh Water Division), Sandip Behra, who coordinated the dolphin survey across Uttar Pradesh said this was the first time that a massive survey spreading to all the dolphin-present areas was conducted simultaneously, as earlier, counting was done in fragmented areas.
Describing dolphins as the mascot of pure aquatic environment, Behra said their protection, conservation and survival was a must to preserve and protect river ecology.