Stranded Blind Dolphins Rescued by SWD in Sukkur

According to the Sindh Wildlife Department, two blind male dolphins had escaped their natural habitat and had to be rescued from Sukkur on Monday.

A team of Sindh Wildlife Department’s officials and a few local fishermen and divers managed to rescue two stranded male blind Indus dolphins in Sukkur, which are also called andhi bulhan, in Luqman, Sukkur on Monday and released them into their natural habitat.

Even though the blind dolphins were seen back in October, the rescue mission had to be pushed forward to January. Upon inquiry, The Sindh Wildlife Department officials in Sukkur said they were not sure when the blind dolphins escaped their habitat, a water channel between Sukkur and Guddu Barrage, and ended up in a water body spread over an expanse of roughly eight acres and having a depth of around 66 feet.

According to the Sindh Department of Wildlife, his team had been waiting for the right to rescue the two blind dolphins. “The annual closure of Sukkur Barrage’s channels [for maintenance] in January is when we could initiate the operation,” he explained.

Moreover, Adnan Khan, a Sindh Wildlife Department representative claimed that it took his team around four days to prepare for this rescue mission. Sharing more details about the operation, he said, “We stayed in the water for almost four hours, trying to make the blind dolphins safely move towards shallow water.”

“We spread a net in a bid to make the blind dolphins swim toward shallow water…where they got entangled in the net,” said Khan. “This was a critical moment when we needed to take utmost care during this time.” Mahar further stated that disentangling of the blind dolphins was the divers’ task and they had only 80 to 120 seconds to complete this mission.

Since dolphins usually come out of the water every 80 to 120 seconds to get air, the process is known as surfacing, “The rescue team has to release the blind dolphins from the net and bring it out of the water within 80 seconds,” said Mahar.

“So we launch a rescue operation keeping in mind that the chance of rescuing the blind dolphins alive is just one percent,” he said. “These dolphins keep coming to the water surface round the clock and are classified among those mammals that hardly sleep. It takes a ‘nap’ for the mere 80 seconds it stays out of the water.”

Once the blind dolphins were rescued, they were transported into their natural habitat which took around one hour. According to Khan, there can be no hindrances while transporting the mammals, every second counts. He further says that it felt great to safely have them back in their natural habitat.

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