A rare and endangered Indus blind dolphin was shot dead by unknown assailants in Balochistan province on Sunday, August 6, 2023. The dolphin had strayed from the Indus River into the Kirthar Canal, where it was spotted by the local irrigation staff. Before the rescue team from the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD) could reach the area, the dolphin was killed by two gunshots.
The SWD officials said they were in contact with the Balochistan government to take legal action against the perpetrators of the crime.
The Indus blind dolphin is one of the four freshwater dolphin species in the world and is found only in the Indus River in Pakistan. It is also known as bulhan in Sindhi, meaning “the one who sees with sound”. The dolphin is blind and uses echolocation to navigate and hunt in the murky waters of the river. It is considered a symbol of Sindh and its culture.
The dolphin is facing multiple threats, such as unsustainable fishing, entanglement in nets, pollution, habitat loss, and canal stranding. According to the latest survey conducted in 2019, there were only 1,419 dolphins left between the Guddu and Sukkur barrages, which are designated as the Indus Dolphin Reserves.
The killing of the dolphin has sparked outrage and grief among the people of Sindh and the animal rights activists
The killing of the dolphin has also drawn international attention and condemnation. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan issued a statement, calling for swift justice and enhanced protection for the dolphins. The WWF also offered its support to the SWD and the Balochistan government in their efforts to conserve the dolphins and their habitat.