10 July, 2007

Indus River Dolphin

Distribution:This species of river dolphin lives only in the Indus River which flows through the provinces of Punjab and Sind in Pakistan (Asia). They are mainly found in a 100 mile stretch of water which lies between two manmade river dams. These were built in the 1930's for farmers to water their crops, and for hydro-electric power generation, but they have separated the dolphins that live in the river, and have stopped them moving freely.

Population Size:Sadly there could be less than 1000 Indus dolphins remaining in their natural habitat. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists the Indus river dolphin as one of five species of cetaceans that are known or suspected to be threatened with extinction.

Threats:Boat traffic, dam building, hunting, habitat loss, human disturbance, chemical pollution, rntanglement in fishing nets.

Fascinating Facts:
The Indus river dolphin sometimes carries its young on its back, above the surface of the water.

Although the species prefers deep water, the Indus river dolphin can live in waters as shallow as 1 metre!

They have a strange habit of swimming on one side, trailing one flipper in the mud in search for food, or they may swim with their beaks sticking straight out of the water.

People who live by the Indus river call the dolphins 'susu', which is meant to sound like the sneeze-like breathing sound they make. WDCS

More reading: Animal.info, Worldwildlife, WWF, animaldiversity

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