The River Dolphin is the National Aquatic Animal of India.
The Ganges River Dolphin is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in India. From the 1970s until 1998, they were regarded as separate species; however, in 1998, their classification was changed from two separate species to subspecies of a single species. The Ganges river dolphin has been recognized by the government of India as its National Aquatic Animal.
The Ganges and Indus River Dolphins are essentially identical in appearance. They have the long, pointed noses characteristic of all river dolphins. The teeth are visible in both the upper and lower jaws even when the mouth is closed. The teeth of young animals are almost an inch long, thin and curved; however, as animals age the teeth undergo considerable changes and in mature adults become square, bony, flat disks. The snout thickens towards its end. The species does not have a crystalline eye lens, rendering it effectively blind, although it may still be able to detect the intensity and direction of light. Navigation and hunting are carried out using echolocation. The body is a brownish colour and stocky at the middle. The species has only a small triangular lump in the place of a dorsal fin.
River dolphin is a critically endangered species in India and therefore, has been included in the Schedule I for the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The main reasons for decline in population of the species are poaching and habitat degradation due to declining flow, heavy siltation, construction of barrages causing physical barrier for this migratory species.