- Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the centre will launch Project Lion and Project Dolphin using modern technology to replicate the success of Project Tiger.
- Lion and Dolphin are very important species of the ecosystem and it maintains a balance between the various marine as well as terrestrial species.
About Project Dolphin
- In 2009, the government declared Ganges river dolphin as the National aquatic animal. Despite being a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, its numbers had dwindled over the last century due to indiscriminate fishing, poaching and development of barrages and dams along the habitat of the dolphins.
- A number of earlier initiatives have been carried out to protect the species such as the Development of Conservation Action Plan for Dolphins by the Wildlife Institute of India launched in 2016.
- At present, the total population of dolphins is about 3,700 in the Indian river systems.
- The Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica) is one of the five river dolphins found in the world. The species is found in the Ganga and Brahmaputra river basins of India, Nepal and Bangladesh. They feed majorly on fish, but are blind.
- Project Dolphin will involve conservation of dolphins and the aquatic habitat through use of modern technology, specially in enumeration and anti-poaching activities.
- The project will boost the biodiversity as well as help provide livelihoods and it will also help to boost tourism
- The 10-year Project Dolphin will involve local populations that are dependent on the river systems to reduce water pollution, encourage sustainable fishery and other livelihood options.
- The project will not only protect dolphins, but will also promote a healthy river ecosystem that is likely to help protect other species in the river.
About Project Lion
- Project Lion aims at conservation of the Asiatic Lion. At present, Gujarat’s Gir National Park is the only abode of Asiatic Lion in the world.
- According to the latest count, the lion population has registered an increase of 25 per cent in the last five years and now stands at 674.
- Project Lion will entail habitat development, engage modern technologies in lion management and address the issues of disease in lions and its associated species through advanced world class research and veterinary care.
- It will also address human-wildlife conflict and will be inclusive involving local communities living in the vicinity of lion landscape.
- Translocation of lions will not be a part of the Project Lion.
- It will involve creation of mass communication networks between various wildlife sanctuaries as well as National Parks.
Hence, it will boost the conservation of both the species and in turn it will also be beneficial to the ecosystem.