Conservation of Kulsi: a race for survival between species

Text by Sunny Deori

Photos by Udayan Borthakur

River Kulsi, a tributary to the Brahmaputra

The existence of the word ‘Conservation’ of any species on this planet is true until they survive. Moreover, the survival of the species on the other hand, is dependent on the health of its environment. This environment, in today’s world scenario, where the demarcation between the wild and human civilization is fading away so rapidly, will be more appropriate when we combine all the biotic and abiotic factors along with the anthropo factor.

To generate a more realistic picture let me introduce you to a small tributary of Brahmaputra, the Kulsi River. Kulsi, which is famous for the charismatic species of Ganges dolphins, is one of the smallest tributaries of Brahmaputra originating from a trident of three rivers at Umkiam of Meghalaya. It enters Assam at Kulsi village and confluences with Brahmaputra at Nagarbera after traversing for about 72km.

A Ganges dolphin

Kulsi River is home to a small population of Ganges dolphins along with more than 200 species of fish, which includes many endemic and ornamental fish and several species of turtles and water birds. Recent surveys (2011- 2014) reveals a population estimation of about 25- 35 dolphins in Kulsi river. It was observed that this species shows special preferences for rivers with meanders, confluences and deeper pools. As, these kinds of habitats attracts the fish-pools which is the only food of Gange