Archive for the ‘Indus River dolphins’ Category

By Bhavani Prakash

It’s sad to read about the deaths of several Indus River dolphins in Pakistan recently.

According to Yahoo News:

“Wildlife authorities say they have found the carcasses of six endangered river dolphins in Pakistan over the last month.

Sindh Wildlife Department deputy head Ghulam Mohammad accused on Monday local fisherman, saying their poison and nets were to blame for the deaths of the Indus River Dolphin.

The blind mammal is found only in the Indus River. A 2006 survey put the numbers left in the river at 1,300.

Increasingly low water levels and the spilling of pesticides into the river have reduced the dolphins’ habitat.”

Source: WWF

The Indus River dolphin is now considered a separate species from the Gangetic Dolphin, but it is facing similar challenges to the Gangetic dolphin in terms of pollution of river habitats.  According to Wikipedia:

” The Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica) and Indus River Dolphin (Platanista minor minor) are two sub-species of freshwater or river dolphins found in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. The Ganges River Dolphin is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, while the Indus River Dolphin is found in the Indus river in Pakistan and its Beas and Sutlej tributaries. From the 1970s until 1998, they were regarded as separate species; however, in 1998, their classification was changed from two separate species to subspecies of a single species .”

Here are a few videos showing the threats to the Indus River dolphins and the efforts to protect them. WWF estimates there are only 1000 or so left and have been declared as an endangered species. The threats include reducing volumes of water which are siphoned away for agriculture, and toxic pollutants which bio-accumulate. The health of the dolphins is a reflection of the health of the rivers.

1. Protecting the Indus River Dolphin. Click here for video link.

2. A 3 part video by UNDP and IUCN on the Indus Blind Dolphin.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3