According to Uttar Pradesh Government, Dolphins have started coming back to the Ganga river with improvement in the quality of its water through the Namami Gange programme.

 

About the ‘Gangetic Dolphins’

  • The Gangetic Dolphin is a fresh-water species, and one of the few river dolphins found in the world.
  • It inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
  • Common Names — Blind dolphin, Ganges dolphin, Ganges susu, hihu, side-swimming dolphin, South Asian River Dolphin
  • Scientific name — Platanista gangetica
  • The Gangetic Dolphin has been recognised as India’s National Aquatic Animal and is the official animal of the Indian city of Guwahati.

 

Description

  • A long thin snout, rounded belly, stocky body and large flippers are characteristics of the Ganges River dolphin.
  • It feeds majorly on fishes and is are usually found in counter current systems of the main river channel.
  • Its eyes lack lens, and as a result, this species is also referred to as the “blind dolphin“.
  • They have a highly developed bio sonar system that facilitates them to hunt for fish even in murky waters.
  • Being a mammal, the Ganges River dolphin cannot breathe in the water and must surface every 30-120 seconds. Because of the sound it produces when breathing, the animal is popularly referred to as the ‘Susu’.

 

Conservation status

  • The population of the Ganges dolphin is estimated to be a few hundred.
  • IUCN Status — Endangered
  • It is placed in Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act.
  • It is  listed on CITES Appendix I, which lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants.