Indus river dolphin | WWF
© WWF-Pakistan

Indus river dolphin

Bleak outlook for this river dweller

The Indus river dolphin is one of the world's rarest mammals and the second most endangered freshwater river dolphin. It is one of the flagship species, which is only found in Pakistan and is an indicator of the biological health of the aquatic and terrestrial environment adjoining the Indus River. However, the population of this species has gradually declined because of various factors, including water pollution, poaching, fragmentation of habitat due to barrages, and dolphin strandings in the irrigation canals. Now approximately 1,100 specimens of this species exist in a small fraction of their former range, the lower reaches of the Indus River in Pakistan.

Key Facts
Common name
common name

Indus River dolphin, bhulan, blind river dolphin, Indus dolphin, side swimming dolphin; Plataniste de l'Indus (Fr); Delfín del Indo (Sp)

Geographic place

habitat

Indus River System in Pakistan

Population

population

Approximately 1960 individuals

Height

height & length

About 2.5 meter

Latin name

scientific name

Platanista minor

Endangered

status

IUCN: Endangered

Weight

weight

70 - 110 kg

What WWF is doing


WWF have been protecting and conserving the Indus River dolphin directly by rescuing stranded dolphins and reducing wildlife crime.

Alongside, we also use community based conservation approach to create awareness regarding ecological importance of dolphins and introduce sustainable fishing practices, through trainings and workshops, to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems.

Better management practices in agriculture sector have also been introduced to the communities, which are helping in reducing water pollution and protecting the species.

We have also been working with fishing communities and providing them with alternative skills to aid in diversifying their livelihood options, which in turn would reduce pressure from natural resources.

Conservation Success

 
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WWF-Pakistan has been working to save Indus River dolphin for over decades. Due to various conservation interventions, the population of dolphin has now increased from a few hundreds to close to 2,000.