Protect the Endangered Indus River Dolphin

indus_dolphin_by_www.abc.net.au

Target: Angela Somma, Chief of Endangered Species Division, National Marine Fisheries Service

Goal: Protect the extremely rare Indus River dolphin from extinction.

The Indus River dolphin, one of the rarest mammals in the world with only around 1,100 remaining alive today, is at risk of losing its endangered species protection. Also known as the “blind dolphin” due to its lens-less eyes and reliance on echolocation to hunt for food, it is the second most endangered freshwater river dolphin. It can only be found in the lower reaches of Pakistan’s Indus River, a fraction of its former habitat range. The species is listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act as well as on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, but a 5-year review has just been announced that will determine whether or not the species should continue receiving this protection.

The construction of an irrigation system in the Indus River has caused habitat fragmentation and a subsequent decline in dolphin populations. River barrages have separated the dolphin population into isolated groups, most of which are confined to a 750 mile section of the lower Indus River. The Indus River dolphin is also at risk from both water pollution and poaching, which only add to the serious threat of habitat degradation. If the protection granted to this species through its endangered status is taken away, the Indus river dolphin will quickly face extinction.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is currently accepting public comments during their 5-year review, which will ultimately determine the fate of the Indus River dolphin. Sign the petition below to urge them to keep the dolphin listed as endangered so that this rare and threatened species will  continue to receive the protection it needs to survive.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chief Somma,

The Indus River dolphin, one of the rarest mammals in the world, must continue to be protected as an endangered species. Only around 1,100 remain alive today in the lower reaches of Pakistan’s Indus River, a fraction of their former habitat range, and they are the second most endangered freshwater river dolphin. Removing the Indus River dolphin from the endangered species list under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species would remove essential protections that keep this extremely rare species alive.

Ever since the construction of an irrigation system in the Indus River, the Indus River dolphin population has been drastically declining. Fragmented habitat due to river barrages has separated the dolphins into isolated groups, and some can get stranded in the irrigation canals. The species is also at risk from water pollution and poaching, as well as habitat degradation.

I am urging you to keep the Indus river dolphin listed as endangered, so that this threatened species will continue to be protected in the future. Please continue protecting the rare Indus river dolphin under the Endangered Species Act.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: www.abc.net.au

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