This January 13, a 12-year-old dolphin had strayed into an irrigation canal in West Bengal's East Midnapore district, when villagers rescued it. People of village stood guard overnight to ensure that the mammal reached its habitat. Dolphins straying into irrigation canals from rivers in West Bengal's East Midnapore district was common and the forest department was virtually dependent on villagers for rescue of the Schedule-I endangered mammal.
Divisional Forest Officer, East Midnapore, Rabindranath Saha lauded the role of villagers in Tilkhoja area and said to media that it was remarkable that the mammal was in perfect health despite spending over 24 hours in a pond after local people rescued it from an irrigation canal. Saha said the Gangetic dolphin had separated from its group and possibly strayed from Rupnarayan river into an irrigation canal and was stuck there because of low tide.
Villagers rescued the dolphin and put it in a pond while standing guard all night before the forest department personnel took over and eventually released it 42 km away next morning.