Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 14058437
Strengthening Ganges River Dolphin Conservation in the Karnali-Geruwa-Katarniyaghat waterway of Nepal and India through Research, Capacity Building and Trans-boundary Cooperation
The Ganges river dolphin is one of the world's most endangered freshwater mammals. Its numbers in India, Bangladesh and Nepal have plummeted in recent decades largely due to widespread threats such as habitat loss, prey depletion and poaching. According to WWF India (2009), there are less than 1800 dolphins in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. Once widely distributed across all the major rivers of Nepal, it is believed to have been extirpated from the Mahakali and Narayani river systems with few animals remaining in the Koshi and Karnali River. Perhaps, the only viable dolphin population in Nepal is that of the Karnali, upstream of the Girijapur barrage in India, but this population may become extinct due to lack of adequate conservation actions from both sides of Nepal and India. While isolated conservation efforts on both sides of the Nepal and India have long been ongoing, joint efforts to save the remaining population are largely lacking. Until recently, no comprehensive information on the status of dolphin in both Nepalese and Indian parts of this region is available. Since dolphins in this region live in the trans-border region and due to their migratory nature, it seems almost impossible to obtain robust information on their abundance and habitat ecology without trans-border collaboration. Thus the main focus of this follow-up project is obtain robust estimates of abundance of this species in this region and strengthen the trans-boundary collaboration between Nepal and India that is essential for effective conservation of the small dolphin population in this region. Our specific objectives for this project are to assess the distributional responses of Ganges river dolphin during pre and post-water release period from the Girijapuri barrage, build the local capacity on dolphin monitoring techniques and sensitize fishermen communities on conservation importance of dolphin and freshwater habitat.
We are very much thankful to the MBZ Species Conservation Fund for providing us funding support to implement this follow-up project.
Project 14058437 location - Nepal, Asia