Global Declaration for River Dolphins

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In a ground-breaking development, 11 Asian and South American countries recently signed a global declaration, the "Global Declaration for River Dolphins," aimed at preserving the world's six remaining river dolphin species.

About Global Declaration for River Dolphins

  • This declaration is designed to guide 14 nations where river dolphins inhabit, with a focus on responsible freshwater dolphin conservation.
  • It aims to halt the decline of all river dolphin species and increase the most vulnerable populations.
  • The declaration will escalate collaborative endeavours to safeguard the surviving river dolphin species.
  • Countries that adopted the declaration include Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, and Venezuela.
  • The countries involved agreed to improve water quality in the dolphins' habitat, create protected areas, tackle overfishing, and involve Indigenous communities in the affected regions in protecting the animals.

Key Facts about River Dolphins

  • River Dolphins are any of six species of small, usually freshwater aquatic mammals that are related to whales (order Cetacea).
  • A seventh river dolphin species, the Chinese river dolphin, or baiji, was declared extinct in 2007.
  • Distribution: These dolphins are found in rivers of south-central Asia, China, and South America and in the coastal waters of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.
  • Common Features: They have slender beaks lined with lots of teeth, small eyes, flexible necks and bodies, pronounced forehead melons, large flippers, and small dorsal fins.
  • The six surviving species of river dolphins are the Amazon, Indus, Ganges, Irrawaddy, Tucuxi, and Yangtze finless porpoise.
  • All six species of river dolphins are classified as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • The largest is the Amazon River dolphin (Inia geoffrensis).
  • They are important indicators of the health of rivers. Where freshwater dolphin populations are thriving, it is likely that the overall river systems are flourishing.

Q1) Which states has the population of Ganges river dolphins in India?

Ganges river dolphins prefer deep waters, in and around the confluence of rivers. The distribution range of the Ganges river dolphins in India covers seven states namely, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Source: Historic declaration offers hope for world’s endangered river dolphins