WF confirms freshwater Dolphins in Harike, suggests action plan

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Chandigarh, Jan 8 (UNI) In one of the conservation highlights of recent times, World Wildlife Fund today officially confirmed spotting six rare Indus freshwater dolphins in the Harike barrage on the Beas and Sutlej River systems in Amritsar district of Punjab on December 21 last year.

A WWF team, in a presentation to Punjab Forest and Wild Life Minister, Tikshan Sud, today recommended an action plan to preserve the rare mammal at Harike, which is traditionally not known as a dolphin habitat.

A WWF team led by Dr. Sandeep Bahera, Dolphin Coordinator at the WWF India under the wetland programme and Mr Asgar Nawab expert on aquatic mammals today said that the team traveled to Harike after it was reported that Basanta Rajkumar, Divisional Forest Minister had sighted the endangered mammals.

After three days of extensive river patrolling, the team could confirm the presence of Dolphin in Beas-Sutlej river system and confirmed spotting at least six Dolphins, he said.

"Although the physical appearance of the dolphins sighted looks like the Indus River Dolphin, confirmation of this species can only be validated after detailed study and investigation," he said adding "This may be the Indus Dolphin found in Pakistan or a sub-species of it." To ensure that the Dolphin in the Beas-Sutlej river system were protected, WWF today recommended many steps to the state government for immediate protection and monitoring of located Dolphin population.

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