Dams Imperil Pakistan's Endangered River Dolphins
16 / 07 / 2014, Yahoo Science
The Indus River dolphin's habitat is shrinking because of irrigation dams that divide up the river into sections, new research suggests. "It is river habitat fragmentation by dams, and removal of river water for irrigation, that has caused the massive range decline of the Indus River freshwater dolphin," Gill Braulik, a cetacean specialist at the Wildlife Conservation Society in Tanzania and lead author of the new study, said in a statement. Around the world, there are several species of river dolphins, which evolved similar features independently, according to a 2012 paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. River dolphins have longer snouts than those of their ocean-dwelling counterparts, but they can't see as well as marine dolphins, probably because good eyesight wasn't needed in the dim, cloudy river water where they live, according to the World Wild Fund for Nature.