“Indus and Ganges River Dolphins” are two different species

What is the News? According to an analysis of the Indus and Ganges River dolphins, it was found they are not one but two separate different species.

What is the current classification?
  • Currently, Indus and Ganges River dolphins are classified as two subspecies under South Asian river dolphins(Platanista gangetica).

What has the analysis revealed?

  • Firstly, the researchers examined the DNA samples of the Indus and Gangetic River Dolphins.
  • Secondly, they found out that the Indus and Ganges river dolphins have clear genetic differences. Also, there is a difference in the numbers of teeth, colouration, growth patterns, and skull shapes.
  • Hence, they concluded that the Indus River dolphin and the Ganges river dolphin are two separate different species.
About Gangetic River Dolphin:
  • Gangetic River Dolphin is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
  • Habitat: They prefer deep waters in and around the confluence of rivers. They also act as an indicator of the health of the freshwater ecosystem as they can only live in freshwater.
  • Population: The population of the Ganges river dolphins is declining. As per estimates, several thousand individuals spread across rivers systems in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Status: Endangered
    • CITES: Appendix I (It means we cannot transfer any tissue or sample to foreign countries without getting CITES permission from the Competent Authority of Government of India)
    • Wildlife (Protection), Act 1972: Schedule 1
  • Threats:
    • Physical barriers such as dams and barrages created across the river have reduced the flow to a great extent making the species endangered.
    • The River flow is also declining very fast. It is because of the diversion of the river water through the barrages, and this has affected the dolphin habitats.
    • Mechanized boats are also causing accidental injury to the dolphins.

Click Here to Read more about Gangetic River Dolphin

 About Indus River Dolphin:
  • Indus Water Dolphin is a freshwater Dolphin. They are found in Pakistan and River Beas, a tributary of the Indus River in Punjab, India.
  • Population: The population of Indus River dolphins has achieved an impressive recovery over the last 20 years. Their numbers going up from approximately 1,200 in 2001 to almost 2,000 in 2017.
  • State Animal: Indus River Dolphin is the state aquatic animal of Punjab.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered

Source: The Hindu

 

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