As per the findings of a recent inspection by the Bardiya National Park (BNP), the dolphin population in the Karnali river has come down drastically with just 6 dolphins being spotted.
The national park was home to almost 100 dolphins in the 1980s with about 20 of them in the Karnali river. In the Geruwa river, which is a few kilometers downstream after the bifurcation of the Karnali river at Chisapani, not even one dolphin was found.
This has raised serious concerns among conservationists, who attribute the decline in the numbers to the construction of the Girijapuri dam which has displaced the habitat of the dolphins. Ramesh Kumar Thapa, Chief Conservation Officer of BNP, has said that other reasons like change of course of the Geruwa river and haphazard fishing have also contributed to the issue.
Local conservationist Ram Bahadur Shahi has called for focused efforts from the concerned authorities towards dolphin conservation.