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West Bengal to set up India's first dolphin reserve: All you need to know

October 12, 2015  

India Today

In order to save the Gangetic Dolphin or River Dophin, which is the national aquatic animal of India, the government of West Bengal has decided to set up India's first dolphin community reserve. The reserve will be set up in the Hoogly River between the districts of Malda and South 24 Paraganas. The forest personnel are aiming for a one-year deadline for this purpose.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the State Wildlife Board on Friday. According to recent data, less than 2,000 such dolphins are left in the country and are facing the threat of extinction due to poaching and contamination of their natural habitat. The state's Principle Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife), Azam Zaidi said they were collaborating with the Wildlife Institute of India, WWF (India) and similar agencies for the purpose. These organisations would help the officials prepare a blueprint on how to conserve the aquatic animals.

Here are seven cool facts about river dolphins:

1.The size of river dolphins can vary from 4.5 feet to 8 feet depending on their habitat.

2.The river dolphins are named so because they cannot survive solely on salt water. They need freshwater as well. The only rivers hosting these dolphins are Amazon, Ganges, Yangtze, Mekong, and Indus Rivers.

3.River dolphins are known to be very social. They travel in pods or groups like other dolphins and each pod may contain up to 100 dolphins.

4.They are very protective about the juvenile dolphins. When travelling in pods, the adult dolphins form the outer part of the formation and keep the baby dolphins on the inner side.

5.The river dolphin's primary food is smaller fish. Even a baby dolphin, six months of age, can eat fish.

6.Due to their torpedo-like shape, these dolphins can swim very fast, at a speed of almost 25 kilometre per hour.

7.Like other dolphins, river dolphins also have bio-sonar, which is a sound wave-based ecolocation system that certain groups of fish use to identify their location under water.

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