Gem in the River – Ganges River Dolphins

by Arun M.

What comes to our mind when we say dolphin? A bunch of dolphins chase a fast-moving boat in an ocean, isn’t it?

Are you heard about a Dolphin in a river, this article is about one such.

Ganges River Dolphins are not the average everyone known dolphin. These are found only in freshwater-like rivers that too in South Asia. These were once seen in many countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, and India. But it has become extinct in many places. Now it can only be seen in the river Ganges.

Curious about how it looks, they are chocolate brown at birth, and then as an adult, they have hairless skin and grey-brown smooth. They won’t travel in groups you can see at a maximum of a mother and a calf together. They prefer to travel single. Male look smaller than the female. Such Female dolphins only give birth to a calf once every two to three years.

Ganges river dolphins are now on the endangered list. Can you guess what made it so? You were right if you thought of pollution. Yes, pollution is one of the major contributors to the decrease in the population of such dolphins. Human, industrial and agricultural wastes are directed to rivers causes pollution, and destroys the habitat of species and dolphins. These made river dolphins have high toxic chemicals in the bodies

Construction of dams and irrigation-related projects along the river is also a reason for the decrease in population. How? Such constructions divided the dolphins into groups, these affected their inbreeding process and the food chain.

The main threat is hunting. Dolphins are hunted for meat and oil which are said to have medical benefits. But many dolphins are accidentally got into fishing nets cause a higher number of dolphin deaths.

Such activities for a long time pushed Ganges river dolphins on the endangered list. In 1991, a protected area for endangered Gangetic dolphins of Asia was created in Bihar and named as Vikramshila Gangetic dolphin sanctuary which stretches 60 km. At present, there are only 41 Ganges river dolphins.

Let’s join our hands to save such Gems. Volunteer for India and her Environment with E.F.I!

Fun Fact Ganges River dolphin is our national aquatic animal and also the official animal of Guwahati city

Published by LakesOfIndia

Lakes of India is an E.F.I initiative aimed at sensitizing the larger public on freshwater habitats across the country. A blog platform where one can read about lakes across India. You can become a guest blogger to write about a lake in your hometown and initiate an action to protect that lake.

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