India now has a national aquatic animal — dolphin found in Ganga, also called Susu in India.
The National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA) on Monday decided to accord the dolphins, the national status, Environment and Forest minister Jairam Ramesh said.
The announcement came after the first meeting of the authority headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The authority was constituted in February this year.
Indian rivers — Ganga and Brahmaputra — where the species is found, have about 2,000 dolphins left from tens of thousand of them about a century ago.
Its decline has mainly been attributed to rising river water pollution and poaching.
A survey conducted by Environmental Biology Laboratory of Patna University during 2000-2001 showed less than 500 dolphins in Ganga in Bihar.
There are about 400 dolphins in Ganga in Uttar Pradesh.
Another 400 were reported in Brahmputra River, the other major habitat of the dolphins in India.