• Dolphins are one of the oldest creatures in the world along with some species of turtles, crocodiles and sharks.
  • The Ganges River dolphin was officially discovered in 1801.
  • Ganges river dolphins once lived in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu River systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. But the species is extinct from most of its early distribution ranges.
  • The Ganges River dolphin can only live in freshwater and is essentially blind.
  • They hunt by emitting ultrasonic sounds, which bounces off of fish and other prey, enabling them to “see” an image in their mind.
  • They are frequently found alone or in small groups, and generally a mother and calf travel together.
  • Calves are chocolate brown at birth and then have grey-brown smooth, hairless skin as adults. Females are larger than males and give birth once every two to three years to only one calf.

Major Threats

  • Habitat loss /Degradation / Disturbances – Annual flood, etc.
  • Changing River course.
  • Inland waterways / Movement of large cargo vessels.
  • Various anthropogenic / religious activities.
  • Excessive harvesting/hunting/food – subsistence use/ local trade.
  • Directed killing/ poaching.
  • Accidental killing – by catch/ fisheries related entanglements.
  • Accidental mortality – others.
  • Water pollution – Agriculture related – on both the banks of River/chemical.
  • Water pollution – domestic / direct disposal of sewage / non-functional treatment plants.
  • Pollution – affecting habitat and/ or species, Industrial effluents.

Conservation Status

  • Indian Wildlife (Protection), Act 1972: Schedule I.
  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN): Endangered.
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES): Appendix I (most endangered).

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