Ongoing Projects

Indus River Dolphin Conservation Project

Indus River Dolphin Conservation Project
WWF-Pakistan and SonaWelfare Foundation are partnering to protect the Indus River dolphin and create awareness about its ecological importance. The project began in September 2015 and is being implemented in the Indus Dolphin Game Reserve between Guddu and Sukkur barrages, Sindh.

The project’s aim is to conserve the Indus River dolphin and create awareness about its ecological importancethrough following outputs:
  • • Saving Indus River dolphins stranded in canals and seasonal water bodies along the Indus River;and

  • Creating environmental awareness among general public to conserve biodiversity of the Indus Dolphin Game Reserve.
The project is achieving these aims and objectives through following activities:

Dolphin Rescue Helpline

Stranding of Indus River dolphins in canals is amongst the key threats which this endangeredspecies is facing. The canal closure period, when the canal gates are closed, leads to dropin water level which turns them into small pools in which dolphins get trapped with limited food supply. WWF-Pakistan has also setup a 24 hour helpline recently to report any incidence of stranded dolphin to WWF-Pakistan and Sindh Wildlife Department for timely reporting and rescue of the dolphins. The helpline is encouraging local fishermen and community members to report stranded dolphins as well.

A joint team of WWF-Pakistan, Sindh Wildlife Department and local fisher communities successfully rescued a stranded Indus River dolphin calf in response to a call on the helpline service in the Naulakhi Minor irrigation canal, NaushahroFerozeDistrict.

Multiagency Coordination and Regular Canal Monitoring

WWF-Pakistan has established a dolphin monitoring network comprising of representatives of Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD), Sindh Irrigation Department (SID), Sindh Forest Department (SFD), Sindh Fisheries Department (SFD), Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and local community activists to monitor the Indus River as well as its adjacent canals and tributaries to rescue any stranded dolphins.

The team thus far has been conducted about 80 monitoring and awareness raising surveys during this year. Overall, there is a visible decrease in the mortality rate of the dolphin, which indicates the positive impact of the improved surveillance along the river.

Promotion of Indus Dolphin based Ecotourism

To gain support from general public, a myriad of environmental awareness activities are underway. Increased dolphin populations created better opportunities for ecotourism, 13 dolphin watching boat safaris have been organized so far. These safaris are boosting the tertiary tourism industry in the region and is providing alternative sources of income generation for the local community.

Indus River Dolphin Conservation Centre and Awareness Raising Events

The Indus River Dolphin Conservation Centre (IRDCC) in Sukkur has also been revamped with new signage, brochures, informative signboards and displays screening documentaries on the Indus River Dolphin. The IRDCC also celebrated environmentally important events such as World Wetlands Day on 2nd February 2016. Other days such as World Environment Day and World Wildlife Day were celebrated and attended by students, teachers, representatives of fisherfolk community and Wildlife, Fisheries, Education and Irrigation departments of Sindh.