September 7, 2018 04:30 AM NPT
By: Yogesh Rawal
TIKAPUR, Sept 7: Just a decade ago, dolphins were easily spotted in five various rivers of Kailali. There were many dolphins in Karnali, Mohana, Patharaiya, Kanda and Kandra rivers.Of late, however, the numbers of dolphins has significantly diminished. People can hardly spot dolphins in these rivers these days.
The endangered mammals face the risk of extinction.Research has pointed that dolphins are mostly found in Patharaiya-Kandra and Mohana-Patharaiya tributaries. Locals said they hardly sighted dolphins this year in these tributaries.“I remember the good old days when it wasn't difficult to spot dolphins,” said Bir Bahadur Deuwa, who operates a boat for people wanting to cross the Patharaiya River. “But time has changed. It has become really difficult to spot dolphins these days.
”Conservationists said there are many reasons for the fewer number of dolphins. Shrinking wetlands, destruction of their habitat, polluted rivers and construction of physical infrastructures along the rivers are some of the most obvious causes. They said dolphin conservation can be effective only if attention is paid to these aspects.
Water level of many rivers has decreased this year due to insufficient amount of rainfall. As dolphin likes dwelling in deeper waters, this could have led to a lower number of dolphins in the rivers, conservationists said.“Furthermore, pollution in the rivers has been decreasing dolphin's preys, i.e. small fishes. In fact, river pollution is a major reason behind the decline in dolphin population in the rivers,” said Bhoj Raj Dhungana, a local conservationist.
Dolphin conservation centers have been established at 14 locations due to initiatives taken by the locals. There are also three 'Eco Clubs' and nine 'Dolphin Clubs' in the local community with objective to raise awareness about dolphin conservation.Around 60,000 locals are involved in dolphin conservation, directly or indirectly, according to Dhungana.
Dolphins are found mostly in the above-mentioned rivers between July and September. During other months, dolphins head for the Karnali River. Gangetic species of dolphins, found in this area, are also found in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.