Fishermen rescue 7 endangered humpback dolphins in Thatta on self-help basis

Fishermen rescue 7 endangered humpback dolphins in Thatta on self-help basis

KARACHI: Local Fishermen in Thatta districts have rescued successfully an entire school of endangered Indo-pacific humpback dolphins, comprised on seven dolphins and have turned them back to Arabian Sea.

The dolphins were around 7 to 8 feet or 2 to 2.5 meter long with 150 to 20 kilograms of weights, were found on the shores in Tali Area near Khahi Creek in the deltaic region of River Indus in Thatta district on early Friday morning. This is the region where River Indus is divided into creeks before meeting Arabian Sea. In the past, River flowed with full swing in this region, but now seawater from Arabian Sea has started following upstream through these creeks of River Indus Delta.

These dolphins, which are locally known as Malaar were stranded in the shallow waters during the low tide.

The news spread like wildfire and large number of the local fishermen gathered at the site to rescue the rare cetaceans back into the Arabian Sea. "Each of the dolphins was around 7 to 8 feet long and weighted around 150 to 200 kilograms," said Ahmed Ali, a local fisherman of Gharo town of Thatta district, the last district on River Indus. He headed the rescue operation.

Talking to Daily Times over telephone, he said on early Friday morning local villagers found the dolphins lying on the shores ; they informed the other fishermen and large number of locals rushed to the site to rescue them. Though, in the recent past, some of the dolphins of the same species have been found, but this is the first time that locals find such a large number of dolphins stranding on the shores.

But, despite appearance of such large number of dolphins at same place, the officials of World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF), which is working on the cetacean conservations for past several years, remained unaware about the news. On contact an official confirmed that they have not received any information on these dolphins.

According to cetacean experts, the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin is a mammal that has a typically streamlined body and a long slender beak and it differs in both shape and colour, usually dark grey on their back and lighter underneath, white and pink variations are also known; the most famous of these are the 'pink dolphins' of Hong
Kong bay.

Some of the international organizations working on the cetacean conservation have propagated that local fishermen along the Sindh and Balochistan coast are greedy and they catch the dolphins to sell it, but local fishermen say that these organization are propagating only to get funds and projects on the name of awareness
to fishermen.

"It is a tradition of the local fishermen to respect the cetaceans, as dolphins are human friendly, therefore whenever any fishermen finds it on the shores or any mammal trapped in their fishing nets, they prefer to release it back to sea," said Muhammad Ali Shah, chairman, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum.

He said that fishermen have relationship with sea since centuries and they are well aware of the importance of these
marine animals.