Water shortage endangering Indus river dolphin

STAFF REPORT KHI: Habitat of the Indus River dolphin, currently reduced to one-fifth of its historical range, is degraded primarily due to shortage of water caused by its diversions to meet the growing agricultural needs in country.

This was stated by speakers during an awareness event about conservation of Indus dolphin, organised by WWF-Pakistanon Sundayat Indus River Dolphin Conservation and Information Centre, Sukkur.

Imran Malik, Senior Conservation Officer of WWF-Pakistan said that Indus River dolphin is facing multiple threats which included canal stranding, release of untreated industrial effluents; unsustainable fishing and entanglement incidences of the dolphin.

He emphasised that sustainable fishing practices need to be promoted coupled with provision of alternative livelihood opportunities for local people to reduce pressure on aquatic resources.

As part of this awareness event, WWF-Pakistan has organised an exposure visit for the staff of the FFC to the Indus River Dolphin Game Reserve in Sukkur. A group of fifty included the senior officials, technical staff and their families from the FFC’s Goth Machhi and Mirpur Mathelo Plants Sites visited the Reserve.

Taj Muhammad Shaikh, Deputy Conservator Wildlife, Sindh Wildlife Department, said the department is making every possible effort in protecting Indus dolphins and minimising anthropogenic threats being confronted by the population.

A dolphin watch boat safari was also arranged for the group which brought an opportunity to them to see the dolphins in their habitat. Screening of a documentary on the ecological role of Indus River dolphin, threats to their existence and the conservation efforts in pace was also organised for the participants.

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