Our Neighborhood's Biodiversity Map

* Please click the continent to see the endangered species of our neighborhood.
The magnificent Ganges River Dolphin * To See the original image, please click the image
Shared by : Swosthi Thapa (Nepal)
Region : Nepal, India, Bangladesh
Status : Endangered listed by IUCN
Ganges River Dolphin is endangered mammal having a thin long snout, rounded belly, stocky body and large flippers. Although it lacks eye lens, it uses its eye to locate itself. It has a slit similar to a blowhole on the top of head which act as nostril. It cannot breathe in water and must surface every 30-120 seconds. Because of the sound it produces while breathing, the animal is popularly referred as “Susu”. Females are larger than males and attain maximum size of 2.67m while males are about 2.12m.The color of dolphin is grayish brown while the young ones are dark in color and as the animal grows in size, the color lightens. It is found exclusively in freshwater habitat. The young wean within their first year and male reach sexually maturity at around 1.70m, when they are about 10 years of age. The gestation lasts from 9 to 11 months and one calf is born once every 2 to 3 years. There is no specific birth period, although female usually give birth from October to March, with a peak in December and January at the onset of dry season. Dolphin’s diet includes variety of fishes and invertebrates, namely prawns, calms, catfish, freshwater sharks, gobies and carp. They cannot chew and usually swallow their prey.
The survival of Ganges River Dolphin is threatened by unintentional killing through entanglement in fishing gear; direct harvest for dolphin oil, which is used as fish attractant and for medical purposes; water development projects like water extraction and construction of barrages, high dams and embankments; industrial waste and pesticides; municipal sewage discharge and noise from vehicle traffic; and overexploitation of prey, mainly due to the widespread use of non-selective fishing gear. The extraction of river water and siltation from deforestation is also degrading species and their habitat.
Public awareness and support for conservation of Ganges River Dolphin are being done in the dolphin available areas. In Ganges river, local communities have been encouraged to use natural fertilizer, not to dispose domestic sewage in river, to improve sewage management, to reforest the river bank and to ban commercial fishing and sand mining activities. In Nepal WWF has initiated a project to survey dolphin population in Karnali river and its tributaries along with awareness raising activities. WWF have several large scale initiatives and projects to protect dolphin; Dams Initiative, which works to ensure that the benefit provided by dam is not overtaken by negative environmental and social impacts; Agricultural initiatives, which work to reduce water use and pollution caused by agriculture; and promotion of Integrated River Basin Management, which aims to maintain or restore functioning freshwater ecosystem and promote sustainable use of water resources in the world’s major river basin.

References :
Ganges River Dolphin|WWF
Department of National Park and Wildlife Reserve, Nepal


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