Kathmandu, July 23
The government is launching an integrated dolphin census programme from tomorrow. Although several occasional and separate studies have been carried out by I/NGOs, an integrated, nationwide and scientific census of dolphin has not been conducted in the country so far.
The Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation is coordinating the census programme. According to coordinator of the census program and deputy director general of the department Dr Maheshwor Dhakal, the dolphin count would be carried out in the Karnali, Mohana, Narayani and Koshi rivers.
“All the dolphin habitats would be covered in the census to find out the actual number of dolphins in Nepal,” Dhakal told the The Himalayan Times, adding, the government did not have reliable and comprehensive data on dolphins as only location-oriented studies have been carried out in the past.
National Trust for Nature Conservation and International Union for Conservation of Nature are jointly supporting the department to carry out the census. The department said field-level monitoring and data collection would be carried out by the supporting organisations.
According to NTNC, the census would be concluded within one-and-half months.
Senior Conservation Officer at NTNC, Dr Naresh Subedi, said compact data will be collected from major dolphin habitats. “Nationwide count is the best opportunity to collect all types of information related to ecology and dolphin habitat,” he said, “The data would also help us prepare strategies to protect the endangered species.”
Census coordinator Dr Maheshwor Dhakal said dolphin count would be carried out in all the river systems simultaneously. During the survey carried out in 2014, a total of 28 dolphins were found in the Saptakoshi, Karnali and Narayani rivers.
According to World Wildlife Fund, dolphins are some of the most endangered of all the world’s cetaceans and are at the risk of extinction due to habitat loss and hunting by humans.
A version of this article appears in print on July 24, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.