Once present in tens of thousands of numbers, the Ganges river dolphin has dwindled abysmally to less than 2000 during the last century owing to direct killing, habitat fragmentation by dams and barrages and indiscriminate fishing. It is for these reasons that despite high level of protection, its numbers continue to decline. The absence of a coordinated conservation plan, lack of awareness and continuing anthropogenic pressure, are posing incessant threats to the existing dolphin population.
WWF-India identified optimal habitats in 9 stretches in 8 rivers as ideal habitats for Ganges river dolphin population and hence for prioritized conservation action. These include: Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora) in the state of Uttar Pradesh (Proposed Ramsar Site), Chambal River (up to 10 km downstream of Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary) in the state of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Ghagra and Gandak River, in the state of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Ganga River, from Varanasi to Patna in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar respectively, Son and Kosi River in Bihar, Brahamaputra River from Sadia (foothills of Arunachal Pradesh) upto the Dhubri (Bangladesh Border), Kulsi River a tributary of Brahamaputra. Education and awareness programmes for fishermen and other riparian population are conducted for communities along the rivers. A strategy and Action Plan for the Ganges river dolphin conservation has been formulated for Uttar Pradesh with the help of the State Forest Department. A network of partners for the Ganges River Dolphin Conservation in the country is also created.