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Amarinder gives nod to declare endangered Indus River dolphin as state aquatic animal

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday gave approval to declare the endangered Indus River dolphin, found only in the Beas River in the country, as the state aquatic animal, an official statement said here.

Chairing a meeting of the State Board for Wildlife here, Singh said the Indus dolphin, a rare aquatic mammal, would be the flagship species for the conservation of the Beas River ecosystem.

The chief minister also gave approval to declare the Kanjli Wetland and the holy Kali Bein River as a wildlife conservation reserve to mark the historic 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.

The sacred Kali Bein river was associated with the life of the Sikh Guru, who got enlightenment while taking a dip in the holy river, the release stated.

The chief minister said that the declaration of the area as a conservation reserve would contribute to maintaining the region's ecological balance and also to the cleanliness of the river, which had become polluted with time.

Taking a serious note of the erratic flow of water in the Beas river, Singh ordered the Water Resources Department to ens ure minimum flow of 5,000-6,000 cusecs of water to ensure continuity of water streams and to curtail the resultant threat to the wildlife.

He also directed the Chief Wildlife Warden to immediately initiate the process of declaring the Beas river as a "heritage river" given its historical, cultural, social and religious significance.

The chief minister gave approval for establishing turtle hatcheries at the Harike wetland.

Underlining the need to develop ecotourism in the Shivaliks and around Harike wetland, the chief minister asked the Wildlife Department to implement the Karnataka Model of Jungle Lodges in coordination with key private players in this field.

He constituted a committee of the principal chief wildlife warden and the tourism and managing director, punjab state forest corporation director to examine the entire issue and submit their report by the end of this month.

Responding to the concern expressed by environmentalist Reema Dhillon for protection of the Shalla Pattan Wetlands, Gurdaspur - the last habitat of common crane in the state - he asked the State Wildlife Department and the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun to come out with an action plan for compensating local farmers in case they keep their land fallow for one season.

Taking a serious view of the growing population of the wild boar, Singh asked the Wildlife Department to carry out a special census of the wild boar population in the state, and suggested declaring it vermin for one year if it is found to be beyond the carrying capacity of wild areas.

He also launched a mobile app for granting online permits for hunting of wild boar in areas where they were creating problems for farmers.

The chief minister also announced his government's decision to ban the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Aceclofenac for veterinary use to ensure vulture conservation.

Singh, while underscoring the need to create awareness among students on the need for conservation of wildlife and ecology, asked the School Education Department to include the subject of wildlife in its curriculum.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 01 2019. 22:10 IST