Biodiversity Nepal
For the Future Generation

Early rainfall: untimely sighting of Dolphin family in kailali

After the rise in water level in the river due to rainfall in upper stream at Chure area

River Dolphin. Photo source: https://futurefornature.org/ffn_winner/manoj-gautam/
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The world’s rarest River Dolphin species have started appearing in rivers at Kailali. These Dolphins appear here with an increase in water level. When the water level decreases, the dolphins move down to Karnali in search of depth. When the water level rises, they reach Mohana, Patharaiya, Kandhal, and other rivers.

According to Gorkhapatraonline, Conservationist Bhoj Raj Dhungana reported two dolphins have been spotted in the river due to rainfall in the Chure area. An adult and a calf were seen at the confluence of the Mohana and Patharaiya rivers. In the past, dolphins have been seen in the tributaries of Karnali since the first week of July. “It appeared a little early this year,” Dhungana said. Dolphins can be seen and observed throughout the monsoon in Tikapur Municipality-7, Baidi.

The Ganges River dolphin/River Dolphin/South Asian River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica) can be observed throughout the monsoon in the tributaries of the river Karnali. It is said that after the end of the monsoon, the dolphins again reach the Ghanghara of India through the main river Karnali. Dolphins were also seen in the Mohana River in January this year. Various studies have confirmed that dolphins are living in the Karnali River throughout the year.

According to conservationist Vijay Raj Shrestha, in monsoon dolphins appear at the confluence of Mohana-Patharaiya river, Patharaiya-Kanda river, and Patharaiya-Gari river. Shrestha added, “if the water depth in the river is maintained, dolphins can live here for all season”.

Kailali has good potential for tourism. Dolphin has been protected in Kailali since 2057 BS. Formerly renowned hunter Bhojraj Shrestha, 75, has been working for the protection of dolphins at the community level. Shrestha has dedicated his life to dolphin conservation, stopping hunting wildlife. After the commencement of conservation initiative, local and international tourists started to come to this destination for Dolphin sighting.

River Dolphins, which prefer to live in clean water, are said to come to the Kailali river to raise their young. However, conservationists say the rising pollution along the river bank and the rampant poaching of fish, which are dolphins’ food species, pose a challenge to conservation. Fishing using nets in the is a greater threat for dolphin conservation.

Conservationist Dhungana said that fishing using large fishnet has been discouraged for the past few years. He also said that the dumping of plastic items and carcasses of dead animals in the rivers has been banned.

Postal Stamp of Nepal with River Dolphin

The  “Endangered” in IUCN red list, River Dolphin is given the “Critically Endangered”  category in National Red Data Book. Indicator of the freshwater species is listed in Appendix I by CITES and legally protected endangered freshwater cetacean mammal by National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973.  Water-based development projects, water pollution, and anthropogenic activities are threats to these endangered populations.  In Nepal, the Dolphins are reported from the Karnali, Narayani, Mahakali, and Koshi RiverConservation of River Dolphin as flagship species helps in the conservation of other endangered aquatic species. 

The article is inspired by the article is published in the Nepali language at Gorkhapatraonline.

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