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Ganges River Dolphin

Ganges River Dolphin

The Gangetic River dolphin is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Ganga dolphins can live only in Fresh water. Gangetic Dolphins are blind and they also known as Susu and shushuk because of the sound it produces when breathing. Gangetic Dolphin has been recognised as the National Aquatic Animal by the Government of India. The Ganges River dolphin, or susu, inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. This dolphin is among the four “obligate” freshwater dolphins - the other three are the baiji -Yangtze river in China, bhulan-Indus in Pakistan and boto-Amazon River in Latin America. They are generally found alone or in pairs, and occasionally in small groups. It is listed on Appendix I of the CITES). It is protected under the Indian Wildlife Act. Listed by the IUCN as endangered on their Red List of Threatened Species It is threatened by removal of river water and siltation arising from deforestation, pollution and entanglement in fisheries nets, alterations to the river due to barrages. 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’. WWF-India adopted Ganges River Dolphin as a species of special concern. A Ganges River Dolphin Conservation Programme was initiated in 1997 to build a scientific database of the population status of the species and study the habitat quality of the dolphins’ distribution range. One of the distinguishing features of the Ganges river dolphins is their capacity to adapt to the changes that happen with the Ganges River. Specifically, the dolphins are known to migrate into different areas of the river when flood season is occurring.

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