Maximum sentence for crime is three year imprisonment
A man has been arrested for capturing a rare dolphin stuck in a Nawabshah canal and killing it.
The action has been taken after a complaint was filed by the Sindh Wildlife Department.
The Shaheed Benazirabad deputy conservator was informed on Sunday that a baby Indus dolphin was spotted in a minor irrigation distributary of the the Rohri Canal, wrote the wildlife department in a social media post.
The department sent a team to the site and they were informed that “some local residents had taken the dolphin to their village,” it said. “The villagers who took away the dolphin were contacted via phone and were informed of the offence but ignored it.”
As a result of the mishandling, the dolphin died.
The department then registered a case against the villagers under sections 9 and 21 of the Sindh Wildlife Act, 2020. The maximum punishment for this is three years in prison and a fine of Rs550,000.
The Indus River dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor), locally known as bulhan, is native to the Indus River in Pakistan. The freshwater cetacean is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened species. It is one of the world’s rarest mammals and the second most endangered freshwater river dolphin after the Yangtze River dolphin.
The dolphins are one of only four river dolphin species and subspecies in the world that spend their entire lives in freshwater. Functionally blind, the species relies on echolocation to navigate, communicate and hunt prey, including prawns, catfish and carp.
Fresh survey figures reveal that there is a constant increase in the endangered Indus blind dolphins population, which experts attribute to reduced poaching along with other conservation efforts in the habitat.
The Sindh Wildlife Department, the custodian of the blind Indus dolphins, conducted a fresh population survey from April 8 to 12, 2019 at the Guddu and Sukkur barrage reserves. According to the survey, the number of dolphins has risen to 1,419. There were only 132 dolphins found in the first survey conducted in 1972.