Gangetic Dolphin

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Overview:

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 Gangetic Dolphin:

  • 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 recognized 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

Source : The Hindu