Photo by RIZWAN TABASSUM/Getty Images.
Photo by RIZWAN TABASSUM/Getty Images.

The Indus River dolphins may not be as beloved as their more famous cousins, but they are in a much higher risk of disappearing.

Found only in the freshwater Indus River in South Asia, these animals can weigh up to 200 pounds and can grow up to 8.5 feet long. Their population numbers went down after an irrigation system was built and they are continued to be hunted by local fisherman for bait, meat and medicine.

There are just 1,100 Indus River dolphins left on the planet and they are considered to be one of the world’s most endangered groups of animals. This is partly due to the fact that very little is known about them.

Drawing from 1927 via Wikipedia
Drawing from 1927 via Wikipedia

The biggest challenge to saving animals like thisĀ elusive dolphin is lack of knowledge. They have not been widely studied and there is very little literature about them.

Researchers are taking an especially close look at the Indus River dolphin because they don’t want the same fate of the Yangtze River dolphin to fall on them. The Yangtze River dolphin hasn’t been spotted for decades and it believed to be extinct, but its decline and disappearance was so quick that conservationists didn’t have time to act.

Watch the video below to learn more about these rare river cetaceans…