Indus River Dolphin

(Platanista gangetica minor)

Introduction

The Indus River dolphin is a species that lives in the Ganges and Indus river, close to India, Nepal and Pakistan. It’s growth into a freshwater species of dolphin is one that has allowed it to remain a unique classification and has created it’s known attributes throughout the rivers of these countries.

Facts about Indus River Dolphins

Until 1998, the Indus River dolphin was considered a sub-species of the Gangus River dolphin. Because both live in close proximity to each other and because of the features that cause them to be similar in the way in which they live, the separation was one that was not recognized until recently. The distinguishing attributes of this dolphin come from where it lives, specifically because it has moved into the Indus River of Pakistan, as well as some of the anatomy attributes that it has.

“The Indus River Dolphin is only known to exist in the Punjab and Sind Provinces of the Indus River”

Unlike other river dwelling dolphins, the Indus River Dolphin stays somewhere in between being an ocean creature and a river dolphin. This is because they will come up for air every 30 seconds to two minutes. This causes them to move more frequently through the river spaces than other species. They also move in relation to migration, depending on the monsoon season and the dry season. This will cause them to either move towards the middle area of the river or downstream, where the river is more calm.

Feeding

The Indus River Dolphin feeds in the same way as the Ganges River Dolphin. Because of their poor eyesight, as well as their need to stay in the deeper areas of the river, they prefer to find their food on the river bottom. They will do this by swimming to one side, and simply opening their mouth whenever they sense that there is food near.

The diet of the Indus River Dolphin includes the river dwelling creatures that are close to the area that they are swimming. This includes a wide variety of fish, such as carp and catfish, as well as turtles, prawns and sometimes birds. This is dependent on what is found while they are swimming closer to the river bottom. When they come up for their air; however, they will often times find extra food that is more suitable.

Reproduction

The reproduction features of the Indus River Dolphin are similar to others of the dolphin species. Specifically, this means that they will begin to sexually mature by the time they are six to ten years old. Mating rituals will lead most pregnancies to occur between the months of January to April, while carrying their calf in the embryo for a period of 10 – 12 months, depending on the development cycle needed. Calves will remain with their mother and will continue to nurse for up to one year. They will not leave their mother until they are an average of two years old, which will then lead them to either move on their own or to meet other dolphins that are of similar age.

Anatomy

The appearance of the Indus River Dolphins includes stocky features of their body. They are an average size of five to eight feet, and will typically weight around 200 pounds. They are also noticed by their thin and long beaks, which is what helps them to feed on the bottom of the river beds.

Conclusion

The features of the Indus River Dolphins has allowed them to become their own species and to develop throughout the various areas of the Eastern countries. Through their abilities to adapt to the river beds throughout India and Pakistan are also their recognized capacity to survive in a different manner than most dolphins.

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