Indus River Dolphin Conservation ProjectWWF-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.
Dolphin Rescue HelplineStranding 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 MonitoringWWF-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.