The Bulandshahr Doab region is rich when it comes to fauna. Historically, the Ganga-Yamuna region was densely forested, and the thick forest cover was scarcely interrupted by pockets of villages and settlements. According to historical texts and records wild elephants, buffalos, bison, rhinoceroses, lions, and tigers were hunted here. This is evidenced by the tiger skins and deer antlers that are still preserved by families in their homes. However, most of the original vegetation has disappeared to give way for intensive agriculture. Presently, there are few large wild animals apart from deer, boars, wolves, jackals, and foxes. Yet, the region is still home to a wide variety of fauna – from fireflies, to peacocks, to leopards.
Interestingly, the entire stretch of the Ganga and its tributaries is home to thousands of birds who rely on the Ganges for water and fish. There are numerous indigenous species of birds found in this region, including – mynas, kites, parrots, crows, Kingfisher birds, partridges, fowl, ducks, snipes and peacocks. Additionally, this region is also visited by numerous species of migratory birds. Thanks to the efforts of the forest and environment department of UP, many of UP’s wetlands have been declared as bird sanctuaries that are aim to protect and conserve not just the numerous bird species but also the biodiversity as a whole. These bird sanctuaries play host to a wide variety of bird species including the Red-crested pochard, Ferruginous duck, Egyptian vultures, Palla’s fish eagle and the Greylag goose. These wetlands are popular recreational and tourism destinations and support farmers as a source of livestock fodder.
The waters of the river Ganga, itself is rich in diverse fauna. Over 140 species of fish have been found within the waters of the Ganges and its tributaries. Additionally, there are over ninety species of amphibians inhabiting the river and its surrounding regions. The Ganges is also home to several critically endangered species, like the freshwater turtles, Asian small-clawed otters, Gharial crocodiles, and the extremely rare Ganges Shark.
Perhaps, the most fascinating element of Bulandshahr’s biodiversity is the river dolphin. Dolphins are one of the oldest creatures of the world alongside turtles and crocodiles. The South Asian River dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is an endangered freshwater or river dolphin found in the region of the Indian subcontinent, which is split into two subspecies, the Ganges River dolphin and the Indus River dolphin. The Ganges River dolphin is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers and their tributaries in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, while the Indus River dolphin is now found only in the main channel of the Indus River in Pakistan. The Ganges River dolphins were officially discovered in 1801. However, today these freshwater dolphins are the most endangered species of mammals in the world. Only 41 Indo-Gangetic dolphins remain. Regarding the river dolphins, Dr. Sandeep Behera, consultant of National Ganga Clean Mission (NGMC), said, “We must put an effective check on the frequent death of dolphins.” He said the stretch of Ganga between Narora and Garhmukteshwar was declared a Ramsar site (wetland site of international importance) because of these dolphins and the community’s participation in their conservation.