The River Dolphin is India’s national aquatic animal. An aquatic animal is one which lives in water. Dolphins are not fishes, they’re mammals. The River Dolphin, also known as the Ganges River Dolphin, is found only in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna and the Karnaphuli-Sangu rivers flowing through India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Dolphins cannot breathe under water. The River Dolphin has a slit on the top of its head, through which it breathes each time it comes to the surface of the river. It makes a hissing sound, something like sssusssu, when it comes up for air. Because of this, it is sometimes called Susu!
In the 19th Century, there were several thousands of these dolphins in India. But now, there are less than 2000. That’s because the rivers are not safe for them anymore. There’s too much pollution. And people use up lots of water from the rivers. Less water means less room for the dolphins.
After the Government of India named the Ganges River Dolphin the ‘National Aquatic Animal’ no one is allowed to harm or catch them. It is important that we protect the Ganges River Dolphin, and also keep our rivers and the whole environment clean.