Dolphins in distress

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

OVERFISHING and environmental degradation have pushed the endangered blind dolphin in the Indus river to the brink of extinction. Water pollution and construction of dams has shrunk the habitat of the dolphins, which once stretched over 2,800 km of the river, into a 170 km section of the river between the Sukkur and Guddu dams. Although authorities have declared this stretch as a dolphin reserve, wildlife conservationists are afraid that it may not be long before the blind dolphin is driven to extinction. Apart from pollution in the river, a greater threat to their lives lies in the ignorance of local fisherfolk who believe that oil from the dolphins increases their sexual potency.

According to Najam Khursheed, a conservationist, there are only around 400 blind dolphins all over the world and all of them are found in the Indus river. Though the pinkish-grey to dark- grey dolphins have a tiny vestigial eye, which helps them perceive light, they are believed to rely mainly on an echolocation system in the river.

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