Nature India | Indigenus

National aquatic animal

The Gangetic Dolphin is India’s new national aquatic animal. The idea is to increase the visibility of this endangered species on the conservation map. The 100 million year old species faces the danger of extinction in 10 more years.



The Gangetic Dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is to Ganges what the salmon has been to Thames. Only the comeaback of this lovely creature in desirable numbers can convince environmentalists that the ‘Mission Clean Ganga’ project has been a success, according to environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh. Dophins can’t be bred in captivity.

The fresh-water dolphin is found in rivers originating from the Himalayas.

I remember making a long journey to Bhagalpur in Bihar to have a look at them in the Ganges. Another time, I went looking for its cousin — the Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) — in Orissa’s Chilika lake, and came back absolutely thrilled after the rare sighting. The adorable wild creatures have a will of their own unlike captive dolphins (e.g. the pink ones in Sentosa Island of Singapore), who are trained to dance, play and talk.

India currently has around 2,300 Gangetic dolphins. The World Wide Fund for Nature says its population is declining at a rate of 10 per cent annually. The environment ministry’s wish to replicate the ‘salmon-Thames’ success story with a Rs 15,000 crore project is laudable. It would be wonderful to see the dolphins back where they belong.


  1. Report this comment

    Francesco Sinibaldi said:

    In the white tinture….

    Touching the

    side of a

    flying intuition

    you call the

    delicate purpose

    of a funny

    blackbird, that

    covers the green

    fields and a

    beautiful sun.

    Francesco Sinibaldi

  2. Report this comment

    Manbir Singh said:

    Nice concern. They are beautiful creatures but in their conservation there are two big problems:

    1. Wastewater in Ganga and lack of will to stop its release.

    2. Hunting by the local people. For instance, last November two dolphins were found dead in Bulandshahar district of Uttar Pradesh.

  3. Report this comment

    DEVI PANDEY said:

    People generally don’t know the nature of the animal and kill the Gangetic dolphin, commonly called Sush in the northern plains of India. The animal is not harmful to humans and awareness created by the zoology dept. of Allahabad University, WWF-Delhi and Nature India is welcome. I would also like to request the Department of Atomic Energy and BRNS to launch a project to protect the dolphins, particularly in and around the Narora Atomic Power Station, Buland Shahar, Uttar Pradesh. Policy makers must ask questions and make local people and industries accountable for the dwindling numbers of this endangered animal.