Indus River dolphin - Population & Distribution

Distribution of the Indus river dolphin. rel=
Distribution of the Indus river dolphin.
© WWF-Pakistan

Just 2 or 3 viable populations

Previous Population and Distribution
This species was once common throughout the Indus river system in Pakistan, from the Himalayan foothills to the mouth of the Indus, and in the main tributaries between. As early as in the early 1970s, the range and population size had declined dramatically and most of the remaining population lived between the Sukkur and Guddu barrages in Sind Province.

Current Population and Distribution
The species is now present in only about one-fifth of its nineteenth-century range. The construction of the Indus irrigation system has contributed to the dramatic decline of dolphins. Today, only fragmented, small populations remain in a 1,375-km stretch of the Indus River, separated by irrigation weirs or barrages.

This dolphin is distributed from Jinnah to Kotri Barrages, but the largest numbers are found from Taunsa to Sukkur. The centre of abundance, a 170-km stretch between Guddu and Sukkur barrage, was declared as a sanctuary for the species in 1974.

A survey coordinated by WWF and carried out in 2001 with partners showed that the total population of the Indus dolphin is approximately 1,100.

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