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Gangetic river dolphins

Date: 02 December 2019 Tags: Biodiversity

Issue

A report tabled by the government in Parliament says that the rivers of Assam and Uttar Pradesh respectively had 962 and 1,275 Gangetic dolphins, India’s national aquatic dolphin.

 

Background

Ganga river dolphin, also known as Souns or Susu, Sushuk or Seho, is found in the Ganga river system including its tributaries like Ghagra, Chambal, Gandak, and Kosi as well as in Brahmaputra river system.

 

Details

  • In Assam, the assessment was carried out in three rivers, with the Brahmaputra accounting for 877 of the 962 dolphins.

  • In addition to the species being India’s national aquatic animal, the Gangetic dolphin has been notified by the Assam government as the state aquatic animal.

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the Gangetic dolphin as an endangered species in India.

  • According to the WWF, the main threat to the Gangetic dolphin is the creation of dams and irrigation projects.

  • Impact of river traffic, depletion of their prey-base and sand mining from river base are other reasons for its depleting population.

River Dolphins

 

Ganges river dolphin

  • The Ganges River dolphin, or susu, inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.

  • Although the population size has decreased compared to historical levels, it is still considered to be large enough to sustain the species in the future if adequate conservation measures are taken soon. IUCN status is Endangered.

Irrawaddy dolphins

  • The Irrawaddy dolphin is a euryhaline species of oceanic dolphin found in discontinuous subpopulations near sea coasts and in estuaries and rivers in parts of the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia.

  • Freshwater subpopulations occur in the river Mahakam of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), the Ayeyarwady (formerly Irrawaddy) of Myanmar (formerly Burma), and the Mekong Delta of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

  • They are also reported in isolated brackish (saltwater and freshwater) water bodies, such as Chilka Lake in India and Songkhla Lake in Thailand. IUCN status is Vulnerable.

Indus river dolphins

  • The Indus River dolphin (Platanista minor) is one of the world's rarest mammals and the second most endangered freshwater river dolphin. Approximately 1,100 specimens of this species exist today in a small fraction of their former range, the lower reaches of the Indus River in Pakistan. IUCN status is Endangered.

Amazon river dolphins

  • The Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), known as the boto, bufeo or pink river dolphin. The Amazon River dolphin inhabits the waterways of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers in South Amercia. It is the largest river dolphin species in the world. IUCN status Vulnerable.

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