LAHORE: For the first time in Pakistan, a detailed postmortem of a blind Indus dolphin was conducted at Lahore Zoo after it was recovered dead from the banks of the Indus near Ghazi Ghat, Dera Ghazi Khan, officials told Dawn.

Lahore Zoo Director Hassan Ali Sukhera described it a major achievement of Lahore Zoo.

He said a comprehensive postmortem of the dolphin was conducted recently at the zoo with the collaboration of Nanjing Normal University China, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore and College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Punjab University. This immature female dolphin was named Laila DGK-1.

He further said the dolphin was preserved at -20 degree Celsius and brought to the Lahore Zoo for a detailed study. A complete CT Scan and X-rays were conducted to understand the anatomy of this mammal.

The animal was dissected and different body systems were studied in detail. Histopathology of different tissue samples was also under process for further research.

Mr Sukhera said the Indus river dolphin, locally known as Bhullan, is an endangered freshwater species in Pakistan and inhabits in the Indus river system. Although the number of this mammal is increasing in fresh waters of the river due to the steps taken by the Punjab and Sindh wildlife and parks departments and WWF-Pakistan, it is still facing threats such as anthropogenic pressure, fragmentation of habitat and loss of habitat. It is protected under the Punjab wildlife law 1974. This study will be useful for the conservation and management of this dolphin in the Indus river.

Elaborating on how the dolphin was found, the director said Punjab wildlife department is running a project, titled ‘Improvement and Development of Chashma Barrage Wetland Biodiversity on Indus River’. Besides the main objective of the project to protect and conserve biodiversity of Chashma Barrage Wetland, it also sought efforts to determine the population status of Blind Indus Dolphin in the stretch of the river between Jinnah Barrage and Guddu Barrage and translocation and reintroduction of the dolphin from Taunsa Barrage downstream to the river stretch between Jinnah and Chashma barrages.

The director said that among many reasons of the dolphins dying in the Indus, the strongest was that it was often stranded in water pools owing to the low flow of the river and escaped from the main river flow into canals even.

Zoo veterinarian Rizwan Khan told Dawn that the study of the blind Indus dolphin would be helpful in understanding its anatomy, histology, physiology and phylogenetic lineages, which will ultimately help conserve this endangered species.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2019

Opinion

A velvet glove

A velvet glove

The general didn’t have an easy task when he took over, but in retrospect, he managed it rather well.

Editorial

Updated 24 May, 2022

Marching in May

MORE unrest. That is the forecast for the weeks ahead as the PTI formally proceeds with its planned march on...
24 May, 2022

Policy rate hike

THE State Bank has raised its policy rate by 150bps to 13.75pc, hoping that its latest monetary-tightening action...
24 May, 2022

Questionable campaign

OVER the past couple of days, a number of cases have been registered in different parts of the country against...
23 May, 2022

Defection rulings

By setting aside the existing law to prescribe their own solutions, the institutions haven't really solved the crisis at hand.
23 May, 2022

Spirit of the law

WOMEN’S right to inheritance is often galling for their male relatives in our patriarchal society. However, with...
23 May, 2022

Blaming others

BLAMING the nebulous ‘foreign hand’ for creating trouble within our borders is an age-old method used by the...