Punjab govt has taken steps to protect Indus Dolphins

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Chandigarh, Mar 12 (UNI) The Punjab government has intiated various steps and also sought assistance from other wildlife agencies for the preservation and protection of the Indus Dolphins at the Harike water sanctuary.

Confirming the sighting of the Indus Doplhins, Forest and Wildlife Minister Tikshan Sud told the state assembly during question hour today that this rare sepcies had been sighted at the confluence of the Beas and Satluj rivers at Harike and in the upstream of the Beas in December last year.

As these Dolphins are being protected under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Minister said that the department of Forest and Wildlife Preservation has initiated an awareness campaign to involve the local communities in preservationa nd protection of this species. In addition, Director, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun has been requested to assist the department in formulating a plan for the preservationand protection of this species, he added.

The state wildlife department is also in touch with World Wide Fund for Nature-India Secretariat, New Delhi and the Zoological Survey of India for the evaluation of the status of the Dolphins in the state and for preparing a plan for their protection, he said.

Steps to take proper care of the species would be taken after the finalisation of the protection plan, he added.

Balbir Singh Baath (SAD) who raised the issue expressed concern at the high level of pollution in the Sutlej river that could endanger the Doplhins.

The Minister also expressed concern and stated that the enviornment department had been asked to keep a check on the pollution levels in the upstream of the Sutlej. He made it clear that strict action would be intiated as per the law against anyone threatening the life of the Doplhins.

UNI HS JMK1507

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