Sudurpaschim Province

Gangetic river dolphins start to arrive in Kailali rivers


Jul 13, 2019-

South Asian river dolphins native to Karnali and Ganga rivers have been spotted in Kanda, Pathraiya and Kandra rivers in Kailali district.

According to conservationists, it is a seasonal migration where endangered Gangetic river dolphins spend around three months foraging and breeding in these rivers.  

Bhojraj Dhungana, a dolphin conservationist, said that dolphins enter the tributaries of Karnali and Ganga rivers to be safe from floodwaters.

Every year during monsoon, dolphins migrate to the tributaries of Mohana, Pathraiya and Kandra rivers from Karnali and Ganga rivers through Geruwa river and Chaugurdighat area. “We can see pods of dolphins in the tributaries after water level rises in Karnali and Ganga rivers,” said Dhungana, adding that Kandra, Kanda, Pathraiya and Mohana rivers are the best places for dolphin watching. 

“These areas are the favourite foraging ground for the migratory dolphins,” he said.

Dolphins are found in these rivers until October as they can easily get their prey here, according to Dhungana. “After the water levels recede in the rivers, dolphins return to Karnali and Ganga rivers again,” he said.

Authorities also have raised awareness about dolphin conservation. “We have told locals not to disturb dolphins in their habitat,” said Bijayaraj Shrestha, secretary of the Dolphin Conservation Centre in Thapapur, Kailali. 

“Locals have also started to take concern in dolphin conservation,” said Shrestha, adding that people residing close to these rivers should have suggested authorities to develop the area as a tourist destination to boost the local economy. 

“Initially, people don’t believe that they can see dolphins here during the rainy season,” he said.

Studies conducted by the centre in 2016 and 2018 recorded at least 106 dolphins and 68 dolphins respectively in the tributaries of Mohana, Pathraiya and Kandra rivers. 

These days, researchers have started to visit these areas to perform their studies. 

Conservationists expect more than 100 dolphins will arrive in these areas this year.

As well as demanding authorities to generate funds to support dolphin conservation works, the centre has urged the local government to upgrade the road stretch from Sunphanta to Dhungana Tol and plan other infrastructure development to draw tourists for dolphin watching.


Published: 14-07-2019 06:30

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