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Ganges River Dolphin: An Overview of Biology, Ecology, and Conservation Status in India

Abstract

Ganges River dolphin, Platanista gangetica gangetica, is one of the three obligatory freshwater dolphins in the world and is distributed in the Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna and Sangu–Karnaphuli River systems in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. This species is facing considerable threats to its survival, and its population has dwindled from 4000 to 5000 in the early 1980s to 3500 in 2014 in the distribution range. This article reviews current status of the sub-species, habitat use, and the potential threats that the dolphins face for their survival (details of taxonomic status and genetics, evolutionary adaptations and anatomical peculiarities, physical adaptation, primitive characteristics, biology, behavior, surfacing behavior and dive times, mating and birth, and life span/age have been placed as Electronic Supplementary Materials). Recommendations have been made for the protection and developing strategies for the conservation of this Endangered and endemic sub-species.

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Correspondence to Kurunthachalam Kannan.

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Sinha, R.K., Kannan, K. Ganges River Dolphin: An Overview of Biology, Ecology, and Conservation Status in India. AMBIO 43, 1029–1046 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-014-0534-7

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Keywords

  • Ganges River dolphin
  • Conservation
  • Population
  • Endangered species