Indus dolphin in Punjab
there is considerable excitement in Harike wetland in Punjab over the sudden appearance of Indus river dolphins, an endangered species found only in Pakistan. "When I saw the hump and the snout, I knew they were Indus-river dolphins,' says Basanta Kumar, divisional forest officer of Harike Wetland and Wildlife Sanctuary.
These dolphins have smaller snouts and bigger heads than those found in the Ganga river. Around 1,100 dolphins are left in the Indus basin in Pakistan.
World Wildlife Fund (wwf) officials, after touring 35 km upstream of the Beas river, found five dolphin habitats. Kumar says the dolphins would have come during monsoons.
But wwf officials say it is unlikely because dolphins are found in deep pools, with clean water and a good current. Sandeep Behera of wwf says the dolphins in Harike could be resident population, not observed till now.
Punjab is contemplating conservation plans for the 34-hectare wetland. But Behera says the dolphins were seen outside the protected area where commercial fishing is carried out.
"That needs to be stopped along with a better conservation plan,' he said.