The Cetacean Conservation Pakistan (CCP) team, led by Dr. Mauvis Gore of the University Marine Biological Station in Scotland, and also comprising the researchers from WWF-Pakistan and Centre of Excellence in Marin Biology (CEMB), University of Karachi, has begun their new season surveying the whales, dolphins and porpoises or “cetaceans” found in Pakistani waters. In their latest survey on the continental shelf 120 km offshore—on 2000 meter deep waters—the team saw hundreds of spinner dolphins, both alone and in groups or “pods”, arriving from at least 2 km away. These dolphins are famous for their aerial display as they leap out of the water and spin before diving back in.
Dr. Gore, leader of the Darwin Initiative funded project noted “It was really exciting to see these key dolphin species in their feeding areas and this provides new information on cetaceans for Pakistan.”
In the scientific survey close to the shore, the CCP team has also surveyed a porpoise and two other dolphin species. This work is the first of its kind in Pakistan. The CCP team is working on the conservation of Pakistan’s marine cetaceans and conducting boat surveys. The team has also been searching the beaches for any cetaceans that have washed up on the shore, besides working with the fishing communities and raising awareness in the public at large about marine cetaceans and the need for their conservation.
The Darwin Initiative funded CCP project is being successfully run in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan, University Marine Biological Station Millport (Scotland), CEMB at University of Karachi, in addition to the valuable support by the British Council, Karachi and the Pakistan Wetlands Programme.