South Asian River Dolphin

Ganges River Dolphin

South Asian River Dolphin

Status: Endangered Endangered - small

Known as: South Asian River Dolphin, Blind River Dolphin, Ganges Dolphin, Ganges Susu, Indus River Dolphin, Susu.

Estimated numbers left in the wild: +/-2000.


The river dolphin is characterised by its long pointy nose which thickens towards the end, large steeply rising forehead, small eyes, brownish/grey skin and stocky build. They are typically solitary creatures and usually spotted on their own or in loose groups. The do not ordinarily form tight interactive groups.

The river dolphin is essentially blind due to the fact that It lacks a crystalline eye lens. Despite the lack of an eye lens it still has the ability to detect intensity and direction of light in the murky waters in which it inhabits. The river dolphin hunts and navigates using a method called echolocation or biological sonar. This method involves the animal emitting calls and listening to the echoes that return from various objects that may be located in the surrounding environment and enables the river dolphin to locate and identify objects.

In place of a dorsal fin the river dolphin has a small, triangular lump. Its flippers are thin and are considered large in comparison to its body which generally reaches approximately 2 to 2.2 metres in males and 2.4 to 2.6 metres in females.

The oldest recorded South Asian River Dolphin was a 28 year old male which was measured at 199 cm’s.

South Asian River Dolphin Map

Blue: Habitat of the South Asian River Dolphin

Location: Native to freshwater rivers located in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal. They are most commonly found in waters abundant in prey consisting of a variety of a variety of shrimp and fish a (carp and catfish) and with a reduced water current.

The river dolphin is split into two subspecies namely the Ganges and Indus. The Ganges subspecies inhabits the Ganges- Brahmaputra- Meghna and Kampaphuli-Sangu river systems of Bangladesh and India with small populations located on the Ghaghara River and Sapta Kosi River. The Indus subspecies can be found between the Sukkur and Guddu barrage in the Sind Province of Pakistan.



Threats: Exploding human populations in the Ganges drainage area are threatening the natural habitat of the river dolphin due to strains on the natural resources. They also faces threats as rivers are dammed for irrigation and electricity, which results in river dolphins populations becoming isolated and seasonal migration being prevented. They are further threatened by pollution, boats, hunting and human disturbance. They are hunted for food and oil and often become trapped in fishing nets.

Conservation efforts:The South Asian River dolphins are protected on Appendix I of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) . They are also listed in the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans if the Baltic and North Sea (ASCOBANS) and protected under the Indian Wildlife Act.

South Asian River Dolphin Videos


Do you know of or are you a part of an organisation that work to conserve the South Asian River Dolphin, then please contact us to have it featured on Our Endangered World.

Dolphin Species

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