Fast Fact Attack – Endangered Species 4: The Ganges River Dolphin

Ganges river dolphin

The Ganges river dolphin is stockily built, has a long thin snout with visible teeth, piggy eyes and large paddle-like flippers. Totally blind; it hunts using echolocation. It has the distinction of swimming on one side so that its flipper trails the muddy river bottom for food, and righting itself when it swims to the surface. The species cannot chew and usually swallow their prey whole. The Ganges river dolphin is unable to survive in saltwater.
Ganga and Brahmaputra river system 
What do they eat?
Fish and invertebrates, such as prawns, clams, catfish, freshwater sharks and carp. 
Loss of habitat due largely to the creation of dams and irrigation projects. Industrial, agricultural and human pollution, and by-catch also play a big part.
Status: Endangered
The Ganges river dolphin is a strong and reliable indicator of the health of the entire river ecosystem, heightening its importance to the environment it inhabits. Estimated remaining population: 4 – 6,000.
“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans”   Jacques-Yves Cousteau