Endangered Indus River dolphin population increases

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Endangered Indus River dolphin population increases

April 16, 2019 - 12:54
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A survey of the Indus River dolphin has revealed a 55 per cent increase in population of the endangered species.

Indus river dolphin, drawing by Friedrich Specht, 1927

Indus river dolphins are one of only four river dolphin species and subspecies in the world that spend all of their lives in freshwater.

A survey carried out by the Sindh Wildlife Department has counted 500 more river dolphins - 1,419 - compared to the last recorded census in 2011, which found 918 dolphins in the 200km-long Indus Dolphin Reserve between Sukkur and Guddu barrage. Most dolphins are confined to a 1200 km stretch of the river and divided into isolated populations by six barrages

The first ever dolphin census in the country was carried out in 1974 by Swiss professor Giorgio Pilleri, which discovered only 150 dolphins. Numbers declined dramatically after the construction of an irrigation system.

Following his survey, the first-ever protected area designated only for the conservation of endangered dolphins was created to save them from extinction.

The Indus river dolphin has been named as the National Mammal of Pakistan.

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