If the COVID-19 pandemic has a silver lining, it is the drastic reduction of pollution levels due to the temporary halt of human activity. As a direct consequence of this, wild animals are being spotted in urban settlements across the world. This time, it was the turn of the critically endangered Gangetic dolphins which have been spotted at some of the river ghats of Kolkata after several years. The Gangetic dolphins, commonly called the South Asian river dolphin is the only freshwater dolphin in the world.
The dolphins are normally spotted near Hooghly, which is around 40 km from the city, but since the lock-down, they are being spotted from various ghats of the city according to media reports. Experts believe that the drop in pollution levels has prompted the dolphins to venture close to the city.
Although they were a common sight around 30 years back, the increase in the level of pollution of the river over the years pushed them away from their former habitat. Gangetic dolphins are blind and communicate using sound waves. According to research, rise in noise pollution in the Ganges was inhibiting their communication and stressing the river dolphins.