Rescuing Ganges river dolphins (Platanista gangetica) from irrigation canals in Uttar Pradesh, North India, 2013-2020

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Shailendra Singh
Arunima Singh
Sreeparna Dutta
Sanjay Srivastava


The Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is an endangered freshwater species found in the rivers of India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The development of dams and barrages have severely affected this habitat as dolphins move into irrigation canals where they are at risk of injury or death due to a range of factors, such as rapidly receding waters, heat stroke, drowning and human interference. Between 2013–20, the TSA Foundation India and the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department, Uttar Pradesh, rescued 24 dolphins in 18 entrapment events. While 19 dolphins were rescued, five died during capture or transportation. Here we describe our capture and transportation methods to raise awareness of the issue and improve survival rates in future entrapment events.

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