Saleem Shaikh | DAWN.COM
KARACHI: The six -day blind Indus dolphin survey in Sindh concluded on Friday.
The survey was launched on April 16 by the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD) in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF –P).
The SWD officials said that the survey team counted 918 blind dolphins in the river Indus from Guddu to Sukkur.
The survey team comprised 35 key officials of SWD and WWF–P.
The officials recalled that that during survey conducted by WWF-P in 2006, around 810 dolphins were counted in the river Indus from the Guddu Barrage to Sukkur Barrage.
Assistant Conservator of SWD Ghulam Mohammad Guddani said: “A distance of 200 kilometres from Guddu to Sukkur was covered for the survey and water samples were obtained after each 10 kilometers to ascertain causes of the death of 45 rare blind Indus dolphins reported from 2006 to 2011 March.”
The final report of the water samples would be issued publicly in three weeks, he added.
Guddani said that the survey is conducted every five years and previously each survey has shown 40 per cent rise in the number of the dolphins. However, this survey has posted disappointed results.
“No encouraging growth in the dolphin’s population has been observed because of different reasons,” he remarked.
Use of banned fishing nets and poisonous chemicals by fishermen, unhampered release of hot poisonous water of the Guddu Tharmal power into the river Indus, release of drainage water and industrial wastewater into the river at Sukkur and the construction of hydel power stations along the Indus are among others, grave threats to the survival of the rare species, spelled out the SWD and WWF – P officials.
The SWD’s assistant conservator said, “Data collected during the survey would be shared with the high officials of the wildlife department and other concerned departments.”
He also said that he would suggest in the survey a request to the government to declare the River Indus area between Guddu and Sukkur a ‘protected area’ for the sake of rare blind Indus dolphins’ sustainable survival and ban the use of fishing nets and poisons chemical for fishing.