Ganga River Dolphins
Gangetic river dolphins, primarily found in the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers and their tributaries in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, are categorised under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and have been placed on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which signifies that the species is on the verge of extinction. These dolphins are one of the three surviving freshwater dolphin species in the world. The other two are found in the Indus in Pakistan and the Amazon in South America. A fourth species, the Yangtze river dolphin in China, has gone extinct.
The Gangetic river species are blind and find their way and prey in the river waters through sonar echoes. They live by echolocation and sound is everything to them. They navigate, feed, flee from danger, find mates, breed, nurse babies and play by echolocation alone.
The Gangetic river dolphins are being pushed to extinction due to increased pollution, decreased water flow and shrinking fish populations in the Ganga.
The already endangered Gangetic river dolphins are facing a clear and present danger from climate change, which has adversely affected their habitat. With their population registering a steady decline, the Gangetic dolphins in different parts of the eastern state of Bihar are now fighting for survival. Climate change has impacted the population of fish in the river, thus reducing the food supply of the dolphins.