The joint effort between WWF-Pakistan and Sindh Wildlife Department has led to a rescue of two stray Indus River dolphins that were trapped in a canal in eastern Pakistan.
Both calves were stranded in the Dehar Wah canal for two hours before being rescued and released 80km downstream.
Such operation between WWF-Pakistan and Sindh Wildlife Department has been carried out on a regular basis. The two rescued dolphins were carefully caught, kept moist while being placed on a stretcher, and transported in a sound-proof vehicle and released in the main stream of the Indus River.
The population of the Indus River dolphins is facing a potential threat due to the case of dolphins being stranded in the irrigation canals. Since dolphins travel back and forth into the irrigation when the canal gates are open due to the water level, some of them are trapped in small pools surviving with little fish supply.
In addition the activity of fishing in the canals could also increase the risk of the dolphins being entangled in the fishing net.
According to the website, Since January 2013, four successful rescue operations have been carried out resulting in the rescue of five dolphins.
The first phase of the “Indus River Dolphin Conservation Project” (IRDCP) in 2004 launched by WWF-Pakistan was to achieve to preserve the dolphin’s genetic variability, conserving the biological diversity of the lower Indus River eco-system, ensuring sustainable use of river biological diversity and promoting actions to ease pollution and wasteful extraction of river resources. The second phase was launched in 2007.
The Indus River Dolphin Conservation Project focuses on the causes of biodiversity depletion of the Indus River Dolphin with measures in the agricultural and fisheries sectors.
As informed in the website, Eco-tourism is also part of the project with dolphin watching tours and the new Indus Dolphin Conservation Centre in Sukkur. The project combines conservation work with the improvement of the livelihood of local communities.
The Indus River dolphin is one of the world’s rarest mammal and most endangered cetaceans. A 2011 dolphin population survey estimated the population to be 1,297 individuals.
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