Indus river dolphin


Preliminary   > Environment and Ecology   >   Species extinction & protection   >   Species in news

Why in news?

  • The census of one of the world’s most threatened cetaceans, the Indus river dolphin is all set to commence in the winter as part of a project by the Centre.

About Indus river dolphin:

  • It is a freshwater dolphin classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Until recently, it was believed that these dolphins were endemic to Pakistan. But in 2007, a remnant but viable population of Indus dolphins was discovered in Punjab’s Harike wildlife sanctuary and in the lower Beas river.
  • The Indus river dolphin was declared the State aquatic animal of Punjab in 2019.
  • They have adapted to life in the muddy river and are functionally blind. They rely on echolocation to navigate, communicate and hunt prey including prawns, catfish, and carp

Ganges river dolphin and Indus river dolphin:

  • From the 1970s until 1998, the Ganges River dolphin and the Indus dolphin were regarded as separate species; however, in 1998, their classification was changed from two separate species to subspecies of a single species

Add ons:

  • Indus river dolphins are believed to have originated in the ancient Tethys Sea. When the sea dried up approximately 50 million years ago, the dolphins were forced to adapt to its only remaining habitat—rivers.
  • In Pakistan, their numbers declined dramatically after the construction of an irrigation system.


Which of the statements are correct regarding ‘Indus river dolphin’?

1. They are saltwater dolphins

2. They are found in Punjab’s Harike wildlife sanctuary

3. They are classified as endangered in IUCN Red List

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3