Ganges River Dolphin
The Brahmaputra River system was until recently one of the last refuges containing relatively healthy dolphin populations. But research by the Assamese NGO Aaranyak indicates that this population is now highly threatened, experiencing severe decline and there are less than 300 individuals left in the region.
ZSL is working closely with Aaranyak and the local community to monitor the Ganges river dolphin population, assess the different threats to its survival and increase awareness of its conservation needs.
© Google Maps
The Brahmaputra River is located in Assam, North-East India. It is 2,900 Km long, originates in Tibet, flows through India and joins the River Ganges in Bangladesh. Ganges River dolphins were originally found throughout the Brahmaputra and Ganges river systems, but they have severely declined over the last 50 years.
Why is it endangered?
The Ganges River Dolphin is threatened by a number of human activities. We don't know which is contributing most to the decline, but overfishing, pollution, dam construction, poaching and sand mining are having a severe detrimental impact on the dolphin population. Read about threats to the Ganges River Dolphin
Our team is completing surveys along the entire Indian section of the Brahmaputra River, which covers over 1,000km. We have carefully developed a new methodology, using visual counts and acoustic data, to count the river dolphins. We will use this data to estimate how many dolphins are left in the population and the habitats they prefer.
In Country Partners
Aaranyak: Primary conservation NGO in northeast India, who are coordinating the Gangetic Dolphin Research & Conservation Programme.
Ministry of Environment & Forests: Wildlife management authority in the Government of Assam.
Wildlife Institute of India: Premier wildlife research organisation in India under Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India.
In 2010, together with in country partners Aaranyak, the Department of Environment and Forests and Wildlife Institute of India, ZSL embarked on a long-term integrated conservation programme for the Ganges river dolphin in the Brahmaputra River system.
© Sanjay Das
• Platanista gangetica gangetica
• 1 of 4 river dolphin species
• Evolved 20 million years ago
• Classified as ‘Endangered’
• National Aquatic Animal of India
• Less than 2,000 individuals left
• Reaches 2.5 m in length
• Biologically blind
• Uses echolocation
• Feeds on shrimp, clams and fish