The National Aquatic Animal Of India is Ganga Dolphin. Ganga River Dolphin is found only in Indian subcontinent and have two species the Ganges river dolphin and the Indus river dolphin.
The Ganga River Dolphin inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra river system primarily in India and Bangladesh. They are listed as endangered due to probable population decline.
The Ganges River dolphin lives in one of the world’s most densely populated areas, and is threatened by removal of river water and siltation arising from deforestation, pollution and entanglement in fisheries nets.
Indian River Dolphins
Ganges river dolphin is a very rare subspecies of a mammal endemic to the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
It have a long thin snout, rounded belly, stocky body and large flippers are characteristics of the Ganges River dolphin. Although its eye lacks a lens (this species is also referred to as the”blind dolphin”), the dolphin still uses its eye to locate itself.
The species has a slit similar to a blowhole on the top of the head, which acts as a nostril. The dolphin has the peculiarity of swimming on one side so that its flipper trails the muddy bottom. This behavior is understood to help it to find food 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 ‘Susu’. The movements of the Ganges River dolphin follow seasonal patterns, although the details are not well known. However, it seems that animals travel upstream when water level rises,and from there enter smaller streams.
According to the older human generation in Assam, three decades ago, the Gangetic dolphin was one of the most commonly sighted aquatic mega-fauna in the Brahmaputra River system.
However, due to increasing anthropogenic pressures, the overall population of the species has been declining and they have been extirpated from most of the major tributaries of the Brahmaputra and are now restricted to pockets in the Brahmaputra mainstream. This mammal is also said to represent the purity of the holy Ganga as it can only survive in pure and fresh water.
River Dolphin is very endangered specie in India and to save the Gangetic dolphin, the Government of India has declared it as a National Aquatic Animal.
Due to sharp decline in population, Gangetic dolphin was listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in the Red List of Threatened Species of International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in the year 1994.
The presence of Gangetic dolphin in a river system signals a healthy ecosystem. Since the dolphin is at the apex of the aquatic food chain, its presence inadequate numbers indicates greater biodiversity in the river system and helps in keeping the ecosystem in balance.