Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Indus River Dolphin Pakistan

Indus river dolphin is world's rarest animal that is an endangered species of Dolphins found in a small area of Indus river near Sukkur town in the central Sindh province of Pakistan. The river Indus is getting dirtier and the water is being distributed into canals and dams which is giving this species of the Dolphin a hard time for survival.


There are very few people who have heard of the Blind Dolphins that are found in the Indus region and the Ganges, in south Asia. Unlike other dolphins, blind dolphins are found in rivers and not the sea!

These river dolphins are the only species in the world to have eyes without lenses! Instead, they have sound imaging skills called echolocation, which is a very sophisticated sonar system that helps them swim through the muddy rivers. They swim on one side underwater, and keep close to the bottom of the riverbed, which helps them navigate and find food.

The Indus River Dolphin has a long beak and a stocky body. It has a low triangular hump on its back in place of a 'true' dorsal fin. It is gray-brown in color, sometimes with a pinkish belly. The eyes are extremely small, resembling pinhole openings slightly above the mouth. The Indus River dolphin measures between 1.5 - 2.5 m (5 - 8') in length and weighs 80 - 90 kg (180 - 200 lb). It is found exclusively in freshwater, living not only in the main channels, but also, during the flood season, in seasonal tributaries and the flooded lowlands. These dolphins favor silt-laden, turbid waters, at temperatures between 8 - 33?C (46 - 91?F).
The Indus River dolphin feeds mostly on several species of fish and invertebrates. It does much of its feeding at or near the bottom, using echolocation, swimming on one side, and probing the river bottom with its snout and its flipper. Although it is not usually considered to be gregarious, relatively high densities are found at sites where rivers join, in areas where the current is relatively weak, off the mouths of irrigation canals, and near villages and ferry routes.

The Indus River dolphin was apparently formerly common and distributed throughout 3,500 km (2200 mi) of the Indus River system in Pakistan. It was found from the Himalayan foothills to the mouth of the Indus, and in the main tributaries from the hills to their junction with the Indus. By the early 1970's its range had declined drastically to less than 700 km (430 mi) of river length. The majority of the remaining population lived between the Sukkur and Guddu barrages in Sind Province. This region continues to harbor the majority of the remaining population. Besides Sind Province, the Indus River dolphin also exists in Punjab Province, but it continues to decline. The blind dolphins are an endangered species.The dolphins are threatened by chemical and other pollution, dam building, accidental entanglement in fishing nets, and by humans hunting them for their meat as well as their oil, which people think has medicinal value.


There are fewer than 4,000 to 6,000 blind river dolphins left and the number is fast decreasing

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