The South Asian River Dolphin, Platanista gangetica, is listed as ‘ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. An inhabitant of the Indus, Ganges, Meghna Brahmaputra, and Karnaphuli river systems of the Asian subcontinent, this species has extremely poor eyesight and relies almost entirely on echolocation to navigate and locate prey.
A major threat to the South Asian River Dolphin has been the extensive damming of rivers for irrigation, flood control and electricity generation. Such damming isolates populations, impedes seasonal movements and reduces dry-season flows in the river courses. Other threats include entanglement in fishing gear, chemical pollution, boat traffic, and hunting in a few areas.
This species is legally protected in all the countries it lives in and occurs in a number of national parks and other designated areas, including dolphin reserves or sanctuaries, where at least nominal enforcement takes place. In Pakistan, the enforcement of regulations prohibiting dolphin hunting prevented a rapid population decline in the Indus during the early 1970s.
To learn more about the South Asian River Dolphin, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
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