Have you seen this animal?

The Indus River Dolphin

The Indus River Dolphin is a dolphin found in mostly Pakistan. It is between 155- 245 lbs. and about 8.2 ft long. The population is 1,100. It sometimes is called "bhulans." This dolphin is functionally blind. It is slightly smaller than the Ganges River Subspecies. The Indus River Dolphin has a chunky body with a low triangular dorsal. The fin is located far down their back. They have a rounded melon, a very long, narrow beak, extremely small eyes and noticeable external ears. They can be found individually or in pairs. Their role in the ecosystem is they are a carnivore.

Location and Habitat


The Indus River Dolphin can mostly be found in Pakistan. 1/4 of the river dolphin species and subspecies in the world are spent in freshwater. They were originated in ancient Tethys Sea. When the Tethys Sea dried up, the dolphin was forced to adapt to rivers. They rely on echolocation to navigate, communicate, and hunt prey including prawn, catfish and carp.


Help Save This Dolphin!

The Indus River Dolphins are accidentally taken as by catch in fishing. They are targeted and harpooned by fishermen for bait, medicine, meat, and oil for consumption. They are affected by human development and other impacts like dams and canals. They have been trapped in canals along the river. Water consumption for various uses by humans in Pakistan's climate threaten the dolphin. Construction of dams split the population into small groups.


Let's Do Something About It!

WWF (or World Wildlife Fund) track their movement and monitor their populations. These tags revealed for the first time showed that the dolphins can cross barrage gates in both up stream and down stream directions. In 2001, the largest Indus River Dolphin survey was conducted. WWF and Sindh Agriculture Extension Dep. improve agricultural practices near dolphin habitat to reduce pollution in the Indus River. Farmer Field Schools are used to create widespread awareness among farming communities about how inappropriate irrigation practices and the indiscriminate use of toxic chemicals affects dolphins. Experts work with participating farmers to demonstrate the benefits of using less water and chemicals on crops like cotton. Since 2000, WWF have rescued 80 dolphins from irruption canals. WWF also educates fisherman who are engaged in promoting ecotourism activities, particularly dolphin watches, about the importance of protecting the Indus River Dolphin.