Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary: India’s only Sanctuary for its National Aquatic Animal

Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary: India’s only Sanctuary for its National Aquatic Animal

“The Ganga Dolphin is the national aquatic animal of India and Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in Bhagalpur, Bihar is the only sanctuary in the county made for the national aquatic animal: The Ganga Dolphin. “

It can give you goosebumps when you see a dolphin surfacing in the river for the first time, they are such an incredible creature to feel so. I remember my childhood when I use to encounter these creatures every day, that time people use to say me that they are “Soons”, they can swallow you, don’t take bath in Ganga.

Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS)

Today, I will take you to a very hidden Sanctuary of Bihar called Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) located in Bhagalpur district.  

Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary
View of Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary PS :fb/vgdsofficial

In August 1991, the Government of Bihar declared 60 km segment of the Ganges River between Sultanganj to Kahalgaon as the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. After, It became India’s only sanctuary for its national aquatic animal, Gangetic Dolphin. 

Ganga Dolphins is known with a common name “Soons” by local people. Dolphins of Vikramshila Sanctuary give their graceful jump in the river these days due to less human interference because of the lockdown, dolphins could be seen in a large number from one place to another in the sanctuary area. The sanctuary attracts a large number of visitors these days to see that big creature. The authority of Vikramshila sanctuary has been trying to aware local people as well around the town to visit the sanctuary and enjoy the graceful jump of the dolphins. Zoological Survey of India in 2018 says that around 3000 dolphins have been counted in India and half of their population are found in Bihar and in the sanctuary area. 

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Apart from Gangetic Dolphin, VGDS attracts a huge number of birds making it a Birds hotspot of city Bhagalpur. The migratory are also seen in large number from October to February.

Waterfowl Birds like Purple Swamphen, Pheasant-tailed Jacana; Indian grey Hornbills & Hoopoes, Storks, Herons & Vultures, Kingfishers, Rollers, & Bee-eaters and many categories of different birds could be observed in the sanctuary. The place is best for bird watcher and nature enthusiast.  

Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary
Some of Waterfowl Birds of Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, PS :fb/vgdsofficial

About Ganges river dolphins

Platanista gangetica (Ganga Dolphins) was declared as Endangered on the IUCN Red list due to decline in both its range and population size in 2004. Though abundance population of Ganga Dolphins are found in the Ganga stream subpopulation of it are found in Kosi, Son, Gandak, Ghaghara, Yamuna, Chambal and their tributaries. The Gangetic river dolphins are one of the four freshwater dolphins in the world. Other species of it are found in Yangtze river in China, Indus in Pakistan and Amazon in South America.

Steps for their Conservation

Serval projects and programmes have been going for conservation as well for increasing the number of the national aquatic animal. T.M. Bhagalpur University, Vikramshila Biodiversity Research and Education Centre (VBREC), the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), the Environmental Biology Laboratory of Patna University are taking active partition for their conservation. Recently it has also announced by CM of Bihar that a Dolphin research centre will be open at Patna University. It will Asia’s first Dolphin Research Center. 

Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary
A view of tree with huge number of birds at VGDS, PS :fb/vgdsofficial

More interestingly, a 40 feet hight Dolphin observatory is under conduction phase at VGDS on the Sultanganj-Aguwani Ghat bridge over the Ganga. It will help in promoting eco-tourism without disturbing the dolphins.


Some interesting facts about Ganga Dolphins 

  • Ganga Dolphins live in freshwater and are blind and hence hunt by sending ultrasonic sounds
  • The Gangetic river dolphins are one of the four freshwater dolphins in the world.
  • The species are listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red list.’
  • A healthy ecosystem is indicated if Ganga Dolphins exists in the area
  • Half of the estimated population of 3,000 of the country  exist in Bihar
  • Prof R.K Sinha is the Dolphin Man of India (Check the video for more details 👇👇👇👇👇👇)

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Must follow Offical Facebook Handle of Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary to get more pictures and details: 👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇

By: Mukesh Chandra (Follow me on -> Facebook or Instagram)

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