New Delhi (PTI): A bait developed from the viscera of ordinary fish by the conservationists of Patna University is expected save the lives of endangered Gangetic dolphins. “Since an alternative to dolphin oil, widely used by the fishermen to prepare baits to catch fish in eastern India, was needed so we have extracted oil from the viscera of rohu, katla and mrigel and added other ingredients to make the bait,” Ravindra Kumar Sinha, scientist and conservationist at Patna University said.
Sinha specialises in the field of conservation of dolphins in the Ganges river system and is also a member of International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) which proposed steps to curb dolphin killing.
“More than 80 per cent of the dolphins are killed in Bihar, Bengal and Assam for dolphin oil so an alternative to it can only stop their death,” he said. River pollution, degradation of habitat for damming and siltation of river beds have also severely reduced their population in the rivers of the sub-continent.
“They need both shallow and deep water for living but these conditions are not found in the smaller rivers so they are found only in the Ganges, Brahmaputra and their large tributaries,” Sinha said.
According to a recent census, only 2,000 dolphins are found in India. Boto variety is found in Brazil whereas the Baiji variety, available in China is extinct. Sinha and other researchers have been training fishermen of Bihar and Assam to use the new bait to catch fish.