Post-flood status of the Endangered Ganges River Dolphin Platanista gangetica gangetica (Cetartiodactyla: Platanistidae) in the Koshi River, Nepal

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T.B. Khatri
D.N. Shah
N. Mishra

Abstract

The breach of the eastern embankment of the Koshi Barrage at Paschim Kusaha Village of Sunsari District on 18 August 2008, created havoc for wildlife and their habitats, as well as people’s livelihood and welfare. The Koshi River flowed through the breach for five months. Following the breach, a population assessment survey of the Endangered Ganges River Dolphin Platanista gangetica gangetica was made between March and November 2009 in the Koshi River main channel starting from Chatara to 2km south of Koshi Barrage to ascertain their status. A direct count survey was conducted by two teams of researchers simultaneously searching for animals by boat from Chatara to the Koshi Barrage including the Triyuga River and on foot along the river banks downstream of Koshi Barrage and along the Mariya River. Standard protocols were followed to record the number of sighted dolphins. A total of 11 dolphins were recorded in the entire 49-km river stretch with an encounter rate of 0.23 dolphins per km. The current result showed an encouraging population of dolphins in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and its buffer zone but the threats for conservation still remain challenging. Close monitoring of dolphins and their habitats involving local communities are required for long term conservation of the river dolphins in Nepal. The breach of the eastern embankment of the Koshi Barrage at Paschim Kusaha Village of Sunsari District on 18 August 2008, created havoc for wildlife and their habitats, as well as people’s livelihood and welfare. The Koshi River flowed through the breach for five months. Following the breach, a population assessment survey of the Endangered Ganges River Dolphin Platanista gangetica gangetica was made between March and November 2009 in the Koshi River main channel starting from Chatara to 2km south of Koshi Barrage to ascertain their status. A direct count survey was conducted by two teams of researchers simultaneously searching for animals by boat from Chatara to the Koshi Barrage including the Triyuga River and on foot along the river banks downstream of Koshi Barrage and along the Mariya River. Standard protocols were followed to record the number of sighted dolphins. A total of 11 dolphins were recorded in the entire 49-km river stretch with an encounter rate of 0.23 dolphins per km. The current result showed an encouraging population of dolphins in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and its buffer zone but the threats for conservation still remain challenging. Close monitoring of dolphins and their habitats involving local communities are required for long term conservation of the river dolphins in Nepal. The breach of the eastern embankment of the Koshi Barrage at Paschim Kusaha Village of Sunsari District on 18 August 2008, created havoc for wildlife and their habitats, as well as people’s livelihood and welfare. The Koshi River flowed through the breach for five months. Following the breach, a population assessment survey of the Endangered Ganges River Dolphin Platanista gangetica gangetica was made between March and November 2009 in the Koshi River main channel starting from Chatara to 2km south of Koshi Barrage to ascertain their status. A direct count survey was conducted by two teams of researchers simultaneously searching for animals by boat from Chatara to the Koshi Barrage including the Triyuga River and on foot along the river banks downstream of Koshi Barrage and along the Mariya River. Standard protocols were followed to record the number of sighted dolphins. A total of 11 dolphins were recorded in the entire 49-km river stretch with an encounter rate of 0.23 dolphins per km. The current result showed an encouraging population of dolphins in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and its buffer zone but the threats for conservation still remain challenging. Close monitoring of dolphins and their habitats involving local communities are required for long term conservation of the river dolphins in Nepal.

Article Details

How to Cite
[1]
Khatri, T., Shah, D. and Mishra, N. 2010. Post-flood status of the Endangered Ganges River Dolphin Platanista gangetica gangetica (Cetartiodactyla: Platanistidae) in the Koshi River, Nepal. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 2, 13 (Dec. 2010), 1365–1371. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2496.1365-71.
Section
Communications
Author Biographies

T.B. Khatri

Top Bahadur Khatri’s research interests are in resource management, park-people interface, community stewardship and wetland conservation in Asia. He has been implementing various integrated conservation and development projects in and around the protected areas of Nepal for over two decades. In addition, he is associated with a number of professional and scientific organizations.

D.N. Shah

Deep Narayan Shah’s research interests are in aquatic biology, ecology and wetland conservation in Asia. He has been conducting research in different wetlands of Nepal and is associated with several national and international scientific organizations.

N. Mishra

Nilamber Mishra’s research interests are in the ecology and conservation of the large mammals of South Asia. He is currently the Conservation Officer (Warden) of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve.