Indian villagers battle to save endangered dolphin stuck in irrigation canal

Over a hundred men rushed to save a freshwater river dolphin - an endangered species - that accidentally swam into an irrigation canal.

The 80-kg dolphin was spotted swimming in the 80-foot wide canal at a village near Barabanki North India on February 3.

The animal had ventured into the canal that drew water from Ghagra river about twenty kilometres away. Unable to find its way back it was thrashing restlessly.

A team of forest officials and wildlife experts rushed to the spot and realised that they had a Herculean task ahead.

The dolphin was swimming in a stretch of 2 kms and it would flee if anyone approached it.

To pin it down, officials reduced the water flow into the canal and enlisted the support of local men.

Over hundred men got down into the canal and swept it with fishing nets from opposing directions.

After managing to corner it, 15 men carried the animal to a waiting truck which transported it to its home in the Ghagra river.

A rescue official said the animal was very stressed and would not have survived for long but for the timely rescue.

Freshwater river dolphins found in parts of South Asia have been declared an endangered species.

After the extinction of the Yangtze dolphin, the ‘Ganga’ dolphin is one of only three freshwater dolphins left in the world

There are about 1,800 left in the Indian part of the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin, down from about 4,500 in 1982.