Dying dolphins.

RECENTLY, a dead Indus dolphin was found floating in Dadu Canal. Blind dolphins are rare mammals and the second most endangered species in the world. They are found in waters between Guddu and Sukkur barrages located in the lower Indus River reach. Around 20 Indus dolphins reportedly die each year. However, the number might be more as most such cases go undetected or unreported.

It is the prime responsibility of the Sindh Wildlife Department to protect endangered species. Despite receiving World Bank funds for the conservation of Indus dolphins, the department concerned has failed to perform its duty properly.

The population of Indus blind dolphin was 1,419 as per the survey conducted by said department in 2019 based on naked-eye sightings, which is definitely not a reliable methodology and effective technique.

Alternatively, a survey conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Pakistan, reported 1,075 dolphins between Guddu and Sukkur barrages in 2017.

It is important to conduct census on an yearly basis through a super survey both upstream and downstream to keep a record of the population of blind dolphins. Analytical methods, like the Zero-truncated Poisson-log Normal Estimator (ZPNE), should be used for the task so...

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