Research in India has revealed that the population of Ganges River Dolphin has declined alarmingly from 6000 in 1982 to less than 1800, with death rates per year reaching around 160 animals. The main reasons given for this decline are the construction of more than 50 dams and other irrigation-related projects along the river, and water pollution caused by pesticides and fertilisers.
The Ganges River Dolphin is also known as the Susu, or Bhulan and has a distinctively long slender beak with sharp, pointed teeth designed for quick snapping action to capture fast prey. Often found alone or in pairs, little is known about their behaviour as they tend to be fast moving and shy.
Nicola Hodgins, international project co-ordinator at WDC said; “We are saddened and worried by the news that the Ganges River dolphin population has declined so far. Despite being declared India’s national aquatic animal in 2009 and being categorised as endangered, the Ganges River Dolphin is in a spiral of decline. Unless action is taken the species will surely follow the baiji into the history books as the second species of dolphin to become extinct at the hands of mankind. WDC calls on the Indian government to take immediate action to reverse this trend and to ensure the future of the species.”