Platanistidae – Asian river dolphin

Flagship species, powerful indicators of the biodiversity present in their riverine homes

The two sub-species in this family, Ganges and Indus river dolphins live exclusively in South Asia’s great Ganga and Indus river systems. They have a shy nature and are often found swimming alone. Both species are essentially blind, an adaptation to living in muddy river waters. Their prime means of interacting with their environment and each other is through acoustic echolocation.

These dolphins are unique because they swim on their sides. One of their flippers touches the riverbed to locate prey (small fish and crustaceans) snapped up using their long beaks (snouts). South Asian river dolphins have flexible necks and easily maneuver through narrow tributaries and around tree roots.