Could Project Dolphin be India’s great leap to save the endangered species?

Dolphin, conservation, India
With the number of dolphins going down, spotting of the species is becoming rarer and rarer, ironically sprouting a tourism industry on dolphin sightings in various parts of India | Image - Eunice Dhivya

For 45-year-old Subhamoy Bhattacharjee it was nothing short of ‘divine intervention’ last September. Bhattacharjee, who works with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), waited for around two weeks, training his camera lens at the mighty Brahmaputra flowing through the heart of Guwahati. He was told the Pandu Ghat area was the best place to sight a Xihu (the rare Gangetic dolphin, as it is called in Assamese language) in the city.

His leap of faith paid off on the day of Mahalaya that heralds the advent of Durga Puja when suddenly a flash of grey popped up giving him a fraction of a second to capture the moment.

With the number of dolphins going down, spotting of the species is becoming rarer and rarer, ironically sprouting a tourism industry on dolphin sightings in various parts of the country, particularly Goa.

Elsewhere in the world though nautical lore is ripe with stories about pods of dolphins saving divers and swimmers from shark attacks. These tales, though incredible, show a special, spiritual and magical bond that humans share with the cute-looking mammals.

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