One of the world's rarest mammals, Indus River Dolphins has received an exceptional distinction. Found only in India and Pakistan in the Beas river, the generally playful Indus Dolphins have been declared Punjab’s State aquatic animal on Friday.
The decision was taken in the Punjab State Wildlife Board presided over by the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who shared the information on his official Twitter handle.
“Delighted to declare Indus River Dolphin as the State Aquatic Animal of Punjab. My government will do everything needed to conserve this endangered species - a rare aquatic mammal found only in the Beas river,” tweeted Capt Amarinder.
With this, the State Wildlife Department would initiate further steps to safeguard the endangered species from disappearing in Punjab.
Already, Punjab has Black Buck as its state animal, and Baaj, also known as northern goshawk (accipiter gentilis), as the official state bird.A survey conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – India in 2018, in collaboration with the state Wildlife Department, noticed the presence of Indus River Dolphins in the Beas river for 70 years indicating that there was “no decline” in the population of the species.
As per the WWF figures, the number of dolphins presently is 1816, mostly found in the lower parts of the Indus River in Pakistan between Chashma and Kotri barrages in the Indus River.
In Punjab, the Indus River Dolphins are found mainly in the Sutlej and Beas rivers.
Pakistan has already initiated various steps to protect and conserve the Indus River Dolphin, through a community-based conservation approach.
“The survey conducted by the WWF was the first ever organised study to ascertain the population of Indus River Dolphins in India. And to everyone’s amazement, the survey revealed that there are about five to 11 dolphins living in a small stretch of the Beas river. And, to top it all, this is the only population of the endangered species found in India,” a senior official of the state Wildlife Department told The Pioneer after the meeting.
The official added that the survey brought forth some positive developments regarding dolphins despite their small number. “In the survey, the researchers also found a calf which is a big news as it means that the population is breeding, and large enough to be viable,” added the official.