Save our national aquatic animal - The Ganges River Dolphins

Cute gleamy eyes pop up and the thin long snout dives into the water. Beautiful flippers move faster while the rounded belly supports in taking a plunge in the air and down with a loud splash. These are the beautiful characteristics of our very own Ganges River Dolphins. These species are the inhabitants of freshwaters and are found in Ganga, Brahmaputra and their tributaries in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. They are fondly referred to as “Susu” for the sounds they produce while breathing. Fresh water Tigers is another name of Ganges River Dolphin. Sadly, it is a critically endangered species which has been added to the Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. This is the reason why Government of India declared Gangetic dolphins to be the National Aquatic Animal of India in 2009.

Image source :
Image source :
Gangetic dolphins are also called as blind dolphins due to the absence of lens on their eyes. The female dolphins are usually larger (about 2.67 m) in comparison to the male dolphins (2.12 m). The calves of the dolphins are dark brownish at birth. As they grow, the color changes to greyish brown. They feed on prawns, catfish and other small fishes. It is believed that the lifespan of the Gangetic dolphins ranges between 24-26 years.

The species was discovered way back in 1801. The WWF India conducted a survey within 6000 kms of the distribution range of these species in the Ganges and Brahmaputra basin. The outcome of this survey came as a shock as it revealed that the number of dolphins was around 2000. What has brought this wonderful species on the verge of extinction? Pollution, construction of dams, indiscriminate*indiscriminate*
➤ (s) failing to make or recognize distinctions
➤ (a) not marked by fine distinctions
killing and direct fishing are cited as the main reasons for the decline in their numbers. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has also taken the cognizance*cognizance*
➤ (n) having knowledge of
➤ (n) range of what one can know or understand
➤ (n) range or scope of what is perceived
of this issue and has listed Ganges river dolphins in its list of endangered species.

A good news is that the State of West Bengal will have India’s first community reserve for Dolphins soon. This initiative will be set up at Hoogly to protect our very own little creatures.

Hope we succeed in preserving this species for the generations to come.