The Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica)

The Ganges river dolphin, formally known as Platanista gangetica and colloquially known as the “Tiger of the Ganges“, was first observed in 1801. It is a species found mostly in large river systems like the Ganga-Brahmaputra. The Ganges river dolphin, adapted to freshwater conditions, lacks vision, but finds its way using ultrasonic noise.

These sounds are transmitted to the fish and prey, allowing them to develop mental representations and hunt effectively. Female and infant dolphins often move together and usually live alone or in small groups. Females, which are larger than males, give birth every two to three years.

As animals, Ganges river dolphins have to come to the surface every 30-120 seconds to breathe. Due to the unique sound they produce during respiration, they are known as ‘Sans‘ or ‘Susuk‘. It was designated as the national aquatic animal by the Government of India in 2009, and is also the state aquatic animal of Assam.

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