Thursday, August 11, 2022

Two Indus dolphins stranded at Khairpur’s Abul canal

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KHAIRPUR: Two blind Indus dolphins have been stranded at Abul canal in Khairpur district, local officials said on Wednesday.

According to local sources, two rare fresh water mammals were trapped in the canal for last two days as all canals have been closed for annual cleaning.

Earlier, two stranded blind Indus dolphins were rescued from Ghotki and Kamber and released back into the River Indus.

According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)- Pakistan, Sukkur, a team of WWF and wildlife department rescued a dolphin on Friday. The dolphin was spotted at Dahar Wah near Yaroo Lund in Ghotki district.

The mammal was rescued and later released in the Indus river near Katcho Bhindi. The rescued dolphin was said to be 3.1 feet long. Dahar Wah is one of the tributaries of Ghotki feeder, which off takes from the Guddu Barrage.

Another dolphin was rescued from Warah canal in Kamber on Saturday. According to officials, the mammal was 4.7 feet long.

Indus dolphins often slip into the off taking canals in search of food, officials said.

According to the wildlife department 700 dolphins populate the waters between Guddu and Sukkur barrage. A blind dolphin rescue centre has been established at the Sukkur barrage to ensure swift rescue in the event of such an incident.

A WWF study said the number of the endangered Indus River dolphin, also known as Bulhan is on the rise, a significant positive development despite pollution threat.

Indus river dolphin is the world’s rarest mammal. It is one of four species of dolphin that spend all their lives in freshwater. It is the second most endangered freshwater dolphins in the world.

Indus river dolphin declared endangered by the IUCN red list status. They are characterised by their long beaks, rounded belly, stocky body, very small dorsal fin and large flippers. This species is also referred to as the ‘blind dolphin’ as its eyes have not developed a lens. It relies on echolocation to find fish, shrimp, and other prey in the bottom mud.

The Indus River dolphin swims on its side, at times enabling it to move in water as shallow as 30 cm. As it swims on its side, it trails a flipper along the bottom of the river.

After 30 to 60 seconds, when it needs to breath, it swims to the surface, rotates upright to take in the air, and then rotates 90 degrees again as it swims back to the bottom. This unique side swimming behaviour is not consistently seen in any other dolphin, except the Ganges River dolphin.

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