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Blind Dolphins of Indus River

Blind Dolphins of Indus River

“Indus River” flows through “Sindh” province, originates at “Lake Ngangla Ringco” high on the “Tibetan Plateau” of Northern Pakistan and flows approximately 3,000 Km before finally going into the Arabian Sea.

It benefits not only land and people but offers different wonders by providing Home to one of the rarest species of Freshwater” The Blind Dolphins “.

These Dolphins are one among “The South Asian River Dolphins” and is one of the rarest mammals and unfortunately endangered too. These dolphins are functionally blind having evolved without a crystalline lens or well-developed light-sensitive organ. However, this is not a disadvantage but an adaptation to living in the silt-laden turbid waters of the Indus where eyes are virtually useless, as very little light penetrates below the surface of the murky water. The Indus River Dolphin is found in the Indus river in Pakistan and its Beas and Sutlej tributaries. Mostly these dolphins are found in a small area of Indus river near Sukkur town in the central Sindh province of Pakistan.

It is also said that People who live by the Indus River call the dolphin “susu” (an Urdu word) after the sound it makes – a sneeze-like breathing sound. These have a long pointed beak; the teeth are visible in both the upper and lower jaws even when the mouth is closed. They have a stocky body. And 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, it does not have a crystalline eye lens, rendering it effectively blind, resembling pinhole openings slightly above the mouth, although it may still be able to detect the intensity and direction of light. Navigation and hunting are carried out using echolocation. It does much of its feeding at or near the bottom, swimming on one side, and probing the river bottom with its snout and its flipper. The Indus River dolphin feeds mostly on several species of fish and invertebrates.

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; These Dolphins do not form tight interacting groups. Calves have observed between January and May and do not appear to stay with the mother for more than a few months. Gestation is thought to be approximately 9–10 months.

Decline of blind dolphins of indus river

The main reason for the decline of the Indus River dolphin from is because of the construction of numerous dams and barrages, which split the population into small groups, degraded habitat and impeded migration. In addition, dolphins no longer occur in the lower reaches of the Indus because upstream water extraction leaves downstream channels virtually dry for several months each year. Accidental capture in fishing nets; and hunting for meat, oil and traditional medicine have also had an impact.

The Indus River is also getting dirtier giving a hard time to Dolphins. According to different reports especially according to WWF there are only about 1000 of this unique species exist today in the lower reaches of the Indus River in Pakistan that increases the urgency to do more work towards the survival and betterment of the rare and remarkable members of Indus River “The Blind Dolphins”.

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  1. What are the special dynamics of blind dolphins

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