MYROLE RTM1- Featured GrASS on 25 Jan 2011, 330pm

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Dear Friends,

We here at GrASS need your help to help us gather the below mentioned items to help us raise funds for our shelter and other independent pet rescuers.

The items are:

Scrap Paper
Old Newspapers
Old Magazines
Unwanted uncooked/raw Acidic Fruits ( Oranges, pineapples, lime,lemons)
Unwanted uncooked/raw fruits
Unwanted uncooked/raw Vegetables
Brown Sugar
Rice Bran
Red Earth
Glass Jars/Plastic containers with lids
Cardboard boxes (any other cardboard materials)
Aluminium Cans
Expired Food Products

For more ways on how or what items you can donate to help please visit HERE

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Article: Blind devotion

Tuesday July 14, 2009


Pakistan's blind dolphins face hazardous existence.

NAZIR Mirani, 47, is the third generation of a humble family committed to saving Pakistan's blind dolphins, an endangered species swimming against a tide of man-made hazards.

"I treat them as my children and do everything whenever a dolphin is trapped in shallow waters," said Mirani, once a fisherman and now among a handful of people officially assigned to protect the dolphins.

Special care: The Indus dolphin is functionally blind and it is estimated that there are between 950 to 1,000 Indus dolphins remaining in Pakistan.

"No one can know them as meticulously as me. I was born in a boat and have been living with these dolphins ever since," said the lanky Mirani.

Indus dolphins – Platanista gangetica minor or bulhan in the local Sindhi language – are listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union.

Females are bigger than males, weighing up to 110kg and growing up to 2.5m long. Their numbers are declining as fishermen deplete their stock of food, pollution worsens, and a network of barrages restricts their movements. Falling water levels due to declining rain and snowfall are another peril.

The Worldwide Fund For Nature Pakistan estimated in 2006 there were around 1,200 Indus dolphins left – 900 at a sanctuary near Sukkur in the southern province of Sindh and another 300 further upstream in Punjab.

The dolphin is blind because it lacks eye lenses and so hunts for catfish and shrimp using sophisticated sonar, said Hussain Bux Bhagat, a senior official in the Sindh wildlife department.

Dolphins swam freely in the Indus until about 100 years ago when engineers under British rule started slicing up the river with irrigation projects in the dry hinterland. The barrages pose a critical threat to the dolphins, dividing their natural habitat into five separate segments of the snaking river.

"This species used to roam across 3,500km of the Indus but are now confined to 900km," Bhagat said. As a result, the risk of inbreeding "could lead to infertility and then extinction," Bhagat added.

An alarming increase in pollution from untreated sewage dumps, illegal pesticides, and industrial and agricultural waste also threaten their survival.

Each year, up to 50 dolphins get trapped in the thousands of kilometres of irrigation channels, which are closed and left to dry out.

Dolphins also stray into narrow channels during monsoon season when sluice gates are opened to maintain the water flow at the barrages. Fishermen used to kill them but awareness campaigns have improved to the extent that they now inform wildlife officials who come to their rescue.

The trouble is that wildlife services have limited resources. Rescuers have just one van with a water tub, which they use to keep the dolphins alive for a few hours while they take them back to the river.

"We have successfully rescued 50 dolphins this season but we could do it more efficiently if we get a helicopter," Bhagat said.

Mirani – whose father worked with Swiss specialist Giorgio Pilleri, who conducted pioneering research into the mammal – said his family tradition of helping conserve the dolphins will continue.

"My son Nadir Ali is ready to assist me," he said, gesturing towards a teenager holding an oar as he steers a boat along the river. "After me, he and his six younger brothers will try to protect dolphins," he said, before cheering loudly as a dolphin emerged to swim alongside their boat. – AFP

This article was taken from: The Star Online: Lifestyle: Focus 14 July 2009

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