• Recently, a Gangetic Dolphin was beaten to death in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh.Killing the Gangetic River Dolphin is a punishable offence under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.


  • 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.
  • IUCN STATUS – Endangered
  • SCIENTIFIC NAME – Platanista gangetica gangetica


  • Bycatch – These dolphins and people both favor areas of the river where fish are plentiful and the water current is slower. This has led to fewer fish for people and more dolphins dying as a result of accidentally being caught in fishing nets, also known as bycatch.
  • Pollution – Industrial, agricultural, and human pollution is another serious cause of habitat degradation.
  • Dams – Construction of dams and other irrigation-related projects make them susceptible to inbreeding and more vulnerable to other threats because they cannot move to new areas.
  • Dolphins below a dam are threatened by heavy pollution, increased fishing activities and vessel traffic. They also have less food because dams disturb the migration, breeding cycles and habitat of fish and other prey.


  • Project Dolphin – The Prime Minister announced the government’s plan to launch a Project Dolphin in his Independence Day Speech 2020. It will be on the lines of Project Tiger, which has helped increase the tiger population.
  • Dolphin Sanctuary – Vikramshila Ganges Dolphin Sanctuary has been established in Bihar.
  • Conservation Plan – The Conservation Action Plan for the Ganges River Dolphin 2010-2020, which “identified threats to Gangetic Dolphins and impact of river traffic, irrigation canals and depletion of prey-base on Dolphins populations”.
  • National Ganga River Dolphin Day – The National Mission for Clean Ganga celebrates 5th October as National Ganga River Dolphin Day.

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