The Consul General of Pakistan’s Consulate in Glasgow met postdoctoral researcher Dr Gill Braulic from the University of St Andrews to find out more about her research on blind Indus dolphins in the organization.
Dr Braulik is also a River Dolphin Advisor for WWF-Pakistan and the only foreign specialist involved in the research and conservation of marine mammals in South and Southeast Asia and Africa for around the last 20 years.
The Indus River dolphins’ habitat has been reduced to only one-fifth of its historic range due to the construction of barrages such as the Sukkur barrage in Sindh across the river.
These gated dams, which divert water for irrigation, fragment the dolphins’ habitat, and dolphins can become stranded and die in irrigation canals, particularly during the low-flow season.
An increase in fishing pressure has also caused a rise in dolphin deaths from entanglement in fishing gear in the last five years. Estimating the size of the remaining population of Indus River dolphins is of great importance in evaluating the effectiveness of conservation and management initiatives.
This is why World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) conducts yearly survey expeditions to monitor the dolphin population.
Early expeditions were pioneered by MCAF grantee Dr Gill Braulik, who provided training to the WWF-Pakistan team. Now, the team leads the surveys with continued technical support from Dr Braulik.
The number of endangered #dolphins has continued to increase since surveys began in 2001, and some areas where the population had been stable also now show an increase. This is good news for this endangered species that faces numerous threats to its survival.
This meeting was organized under the guidance of the Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, Pakistan High Commission UK, Pakistan Consulate General Manchester and Pakistan Consulate General Bradford.