Poached Gangetic Dolphin, Malda, West Bengal

by CI Team
Pankaj Mandal

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

This animal looks like a subadult or small adult - might have been caught in a drifting gill net in the night or evening. Local conservationists also report rampant poaching in the area of Dolphins, Gharials, Smooth-coated Otters and birds. CI will publish a detailed report shortly.

This image of a poached Gangetic Dolphin was photographed yesterday in Bhabanathtola, Bhutni village, Malda district, West Bengal. The man was was probably carrying it from Hiranandapur towards Mathurapur.

The Forest Dept. and the police are visiting area today (30-Dec-2017). DFO Koushik Sarkar said, “We are taking the matter seriously and have also informed the police.”

Read TOI Kolkata report.

In Bengal the dolphin is called the Shushuk and is just another fish-like creature for them, and is consumed locally if found caught in a net (nowadays mostly accidentally). The least that can be said from the image is that this animal will be sold to fishers for the blubber oil which is used as bait for catfish, or for it’s meat to some local shack selling fish dishes.

The population size, distribution, and extent or frequency of bycatch mortality of river dolphins is poorly known from Bengal – no detailed recent surveys – but seems like the population is low and likely to be in the low hundreds in the state at best (given that coverage of the Sundarbans is always a difficult matter for surveyors).

This animal looks like a subadult or small adult – might have been caught in a drifting gill net in the night or evening.

Local conservationists also report rampant poaching in the area of Dolphins, Gharials, Smooth-coated Otters and birds. CI will publish a detailed report shortly.


Thanks to expert inputs from Nachiket Kelkar and Subhasish Sengupta.



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