Saving the Ganges river dolphin

Dolphin seen in the Mohana river, Kailali

Project title: Saving the Ganges river dolphin

Location: Kailali District, Far Western Development Region, Nepal

Duration: 2015 – 2016

Project background: This project aims to enhance the conservation of the endemic and endangered Ganges river dolphin (Plantanista gangetica) in Kailali District through the engagement of local communities in citizen science-based data collection and livelihood enhancement. Simultaneously, policymakers will be lobbied to develop effective dolphin conservation policies. Project partners will engage experts and stakeholders in Nepal and India to work together to develop a bi-national Ganges River Dolphin Trans-boundary Conservation Action Plan, which is essential to the long-term conservation of the migratory species.

Objectives of the project:

  • Develop a mobile application for the monitoring of chemical and biological water quality as well as fish abundance, and test the mobile application with community members
  • Work to engage local fishing communities and high school students from socio-economically marginalised groups and castes within Karnali-Mohana in the data collection, which will then be submitted and analysed by experts
  • Better understand the underlying threats to dolphin populations in the region
  • Lobby policymakers at the local, regional and national levels to develop policies that address the root causes of Ganges river dolphin decline

Expected outputs:

  • A baseline study reflecting the Ganges river dolphin population's abundance and distribution in Nepal will be established using IUCN’s internationally-recognised best practice methods. Another baseline study on water quality and  fish abundance in the Mohana-Karnali will help to elucidate the primary factors that threaten the survival of the Ganges river dolphin
  • Local fishers and students with riparian rights to the Mohana-Karnali river system will better understand the link between ecological conservation, environmental services and species viability. These fishers and students will then use this knowledge to promote conservation awareness within their communities
  • Local fishing communities will better understand how to manage and use their local resources. Through training, they will learn how to develop sustainable forest and farm-based enterprises
  • Policy makers at local, regional and national levels will better understand the threats to Ganges river dolphin populations and how to address these threats via policy solutions; bi-national experts and stakeholders will identify key trans-boundary conservation issues and produce a white paper with technical suggestions for bi-national policy, to support the governments of Nepal and India in developing a trans-boundary conservation action plan

Donor: Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund (DWCF)

Partner: Dolphin Conservation Center

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