World Wildlife Fund
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (The News International) - Despite unfavourable conditions and looming threats, the number of blind Indus dolphins has increased during the past few years in the Dolphin Reserve stretches between Guddu and Sukkur barrages, says a latest survey conducted by the Sindh Wildlife Department.
The survey revealed that during the last count conducted by the Sindh Wildlife Department in 2006, the number of the Indus dolphins in the reserve was around 810 but now over 916 dolphins have been counted between Guddu and Shah Belo.
The experts are still to cover 15km long sector from Shah Belo and Sukkur where three to five big dolphin schools are located and it is expected that the population of dolphins in these schools would be around 100, increasing the total number of the blind dolphins above 1,000. The team of Sindh Wildlife Department would probably complete the survey in the remaining portion at the end of this week
The Sindh government declared the area between these two barrages as the Indus River Dolphin Reserve in 1974. These dolphins, measuring between 1.5 and 2.5 meters in length and weighing a maximum of 90 kilograms, do not have a crystalline eye lens and so are blind. They navigate underwater entirely by a sophisticated echo-location system. The physical touch gives them important information about their surroundings and helps them find food.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has also completed its survey between Chashma and Sukkur Barrage and would make public its report after two weeks. A total of 15 experts contributed in the survey in which all relevant data has been collected to assess number of dolphins and threats to their lives due to multiple reasons.
Coordinator of Indus River Dolphin Conservation Project of WWF-Pak, Uzma Naureen Khan, told this correspondent that they had started their survey on March 28 and after conducting hectic and in-depth studies it got completed on April 20.
We are now sorting out the data and would make reports to ascertain the population of blind Indus dolphins between Chashma and Sukkur Barrage. The findings of the survey would also help identify the growing threats to life of blind dolphins, she said.
She said there is a slight increase in the number of dolphins in 2009 survey but it had not increased as much as it should have because protected areas were designated to conserve this rare specie.
Uzma said they have also collected samples of water to have a clear picture about level of pollution and other related factors that caused death of six dolphins in the recent past.
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Updated 2101 days ago Article ID# 990062
World Wildlife Fund