National Aquatic Animal of India

National Aquatic animal of India exploration can not be assumed appropriate without exploring Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary which is in Bhagalpur. It is Bihar’s third largest city. After reading this article you will understand all aspects of Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary and status of river dolphins

Riding on waves of Ganga while exploring Dolphin Sanctuary is a unique and pleasant moment. We sat on a boat and reached to see this beautiful scene. Flying birds across the bank of a river is really mesmerizing.

National Aquatic Animal of India
Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary

Wildlife Sanctuary.. When you hear this word, what is the very first thing that comes to your mind? Let me tell you, forest, tiger, lion, elephant these are the images which appear in your mind when you hear about wildlife sanctuary. What if I told you that wildlife sanctuary existes without forest, elephant, lion and tigers too.

Do you believe if I tell you while standing at the bank of Ganga that I am in a wildlife sanctuary?

Good now tell me who is the National Aquatic Animal of India ? This is also a lesser known information because we all know about the national animal but this time we are discussing the National Aquatic Animal of India.

I know you are here for an answer and I am asking you only questions,  so let me tell you that the National Aquatic Animal of India is The Gangetic River Dolphin.

National Aquatic Animal of India
Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary

Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary

When I was standing at the bank of Ganga in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, approx 200 river Dolphins were present around. But the sad story is that the life of these river dolphins is in danger nowadays and this the reason for granting them the category of endangered species.

Basic need for Dolphins to survive is only neat and clean water. Why the life of dolphins is in danger and who is behind this tragedy is a subject of research for us. So let’s explore Bhagalpur with these beautiful and endangered species.

Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary is an initiative to protect endangered species. 53 kilometers area of Ganga in Bhagalpur was declared as Dolphin Sanctuary on 7 August 1991. It is Asia’s only sanctuary where river dolphins are protected. Very large number of river dolphins are found here out of the total number of river dolphins worldwide.

National Aquatic Animal of India
Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary

It is said that the reason for founding a large number of gangetic river dolphins is because of Ganga water that is deep, clean and cool here.

Gangetic River Dolphin is called in local language as ‘Souns’ here and most part of Bihar. These River Dolphins placed in the food chain are above all aquatic species, if they get extinct there would be an imbalance in the Ganga Ecosystem.

There was a time that approx 5000 dolphins lived in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary. But now slowly their numbers are declining and at present their population remains 3000 worldwide.

Area of Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary

National Aquatic Animal of India
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

An observatory would soon be developed by the government which would facilitate tourists to see Gangetic dolphins in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary. People would be able to watch aquatic activities of Dolphins in the river from an observatory tower, to be built as a part of Sultanganj-Aguwani Ghat Bridge in Bhagalpur, Bihar.

Sultanganj to Kahalgaon area approx 60KM is protected under Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary.

Reason For Declining population of Gangetic River Dolphin

Human activities are the main reason behind the declining population of Gangetic River Dolphin. Due to their activities the ecology of the river has changed, restricting the flow of the river by constructing dams and barrages over it. 

National Aquatic Animal of India
Gangetic River Dolphin

These activities resulted in a decreased flow of water, meaning the natural and environmental flow of the river is no more. Sedimentation and silting are the side effects of dams and barrages, this causes shallowness of rivers and results in less deep and clean water that is crucial for River Dolphins.

This is pride that Bhagalpur’s Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary preserved 60% of total populations worldwide

On 5th October, 2009 Indian Government declared the Gangetic dolphin as the National Aquatic Animal of India.

The Indus River Dolphin  species which is part of Gangetic river dolphin family, now found in pakistan.

Interesting Facts About National Aquatic Animal of India

Dolphin illustration
Dolphin
  • Gangetic River Dolphin are blind which means they can not see
  • Gangetic River Dolphins carry very intense power of hearing
  • There are 200 Dolphins in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary
  • Dolphins are very shy specy.
  • Dolphins are not fish, they are actually mammals.
  • Average Age of Dolphins is 28 years.

Threats to National Aquatic Animal of India

Nylon Nets: In ancient times river dolphins were considered sacred and people believed that they were the vehicle of Goddess Ganga so whenever a fisherman caught them during fishing they let him go. Nowadays fisherman use nylon traps to catch fish and river dolphins could not see or predict the nylon trap and they got caught. Since river dolphins are mammals, it can not hold its breath long and dies in trap.

Poachers: River dolphins are being killed by poachers for their flesh, fat and oil. However killing dolphins is illegal but needs some more strict action to curb.

Boats and Machines: boats running on ganga river disturbed dolphins and noise of construction work near ganga river also disbalanced dolphins life. Wherever the human population increased, the dolphin population decreased.

Dams and Barrages:  Multiple Dams are constructed on Ganga river, these dams divide the areas of Ganga river into multiple parts and block free movement from one part to another part. So dolphins caught in some areas can not move to other areas and this restriction on movement also affects their breeding capabilities. That results in less production of dolphins.

If you feel any information about Gangetic River Dolphin should be included in this article or you want to add your ideas, view or experience related to Dolphins, feel free to contact us, we will try hard to give space to your ideas.

Ever wanted to know the lifestyle of people of Bihar, read this article.

Anish Kumar Singh

Amature Photographer and Content Writer. From History to Street to landscape to Food everything.

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