After fake news about dolphins being spotted in Venetian canals went viral in March, the "critically endangered" Gangetic Dolphins have indeed been spotted from the ghats of Kolkata.
After years of remaining aloof from the ghats of Kolkata, the rare South Asian River Dolphins seem to be making a comeback to city shores, thanks to reduces water pollution.
According to a report in Times of India, water quality in the river Hoogly had improved due to reduced pollution caused by relentless industrial activity. Environmentalists and wildlife photographers have allegedly spotted the endangered mammals in areas like Babughat and in city outskirts.
While 30 years ago, Gangetic dolphins were regularly seen across various ghats in Kolkata, increased pollution had caused the mammals to retreat.
The global population of Gangetic dolphins is barely between 1,200 to 1,800. In 2017, a team experts from the Worldwide Fund for Nature-India mapped the abundance of and threats to Gangetic dolphins in the Hooghly. One of the most "striking features" of the
the study was that the endangered mammals were sighted in highly polluted pockets of the river.
The study found that apart from pollution, one of the biggest threats to the existence of dolphins in the Hoogly river was human activity and transport.
Some of the key concerns raised by the study, reported by IANS, included entanglement of the mammals in fishing gear such as nylon gill nets, availability of fish, the presence of dams and barrages in the river that prevent their migration and lead to the segregation of populations.(With inputs from IANS)