Ganges River Dolphin

(Platanista gangetia)

 

Size:

Length: 150 250 cm, Weight: 90 kg

Lifespan:

28 years

Population:

25,000-32,000

Family life:

Generally live solitary lives.

Habitat:

Ganga & Brahmaputra river system

Locomotion:

 

They swim on their sides while their flippers trail the muddy river bottom.

Food source:

 

Prawns, clams, catfish, freshwater sharks, gobies & carp

Closest  relatives:

Indus river dolphin

Relationship to  humans:

 

 

Their river runs along some of the most populated areas in India, resulting in many human-animal interactions and conflicts.

photo wikimedia

Cool facts:

Ganges river dolphins have an extremely long beak that they use to forage for prey along the bottom of the river while swimming on their side. Their eyes do not have a lens and they are sometimes referred to as the blind dolphin.

Conservation Status:

The population is threatened because of pollution, entanglement in fishnets, siltation arising from deforestation, and the removal of river water via dams and irrigation projects. The decrease in freshwater habitat is the leading cause of population decline because unlike other most other dolphins, the Ganges river dolphins live exclusively in freshwater habitats.

What is being done now?

The World Wildlife Fund and many other international organizations are taking action to reduce the contamination of freshwater habitats utilized by the Ganges river dolphin and other freshwater cetaceans. Hopefully if enough organizations team up then there will a chance for the Ganges river dolphin to live sustainably in the wild.

What should be done in the future?

To increase the wild population of Ganges river dolphins it would require a continued effort to improve the quality of freshwater habitats.

 

Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.