The number of fresh water dolphins, one of the world's first protected species, has been found to have decreased in the Karnali River, national news agency RSS reported Sunday.
The dolphin number is declining in the river, the major habitat, because of the dam constructed by India in Girijapuri --15 kilometers south from Nepali border.
Dolphins often come down to Girijapuri, but they cannot return back once they cross the dam. If a conservation officer's statement is anything to go by, the number of dolphins has decreased to a shocking level.
According to Ramesh Kumar Thapa, assistant conservation officer of Bardiya National Park, the number of dolphins has fallen to six from hundreds recorded in 1980.
It is said that the lack of protection and incessant hunting of dolphins for its oil and skin, the abundance of this species has sharply declined.
In a bid to protect the declining number of dolphins, some people in the district want private sector be entrusted with the responsibility of dolphin conservation.
Chairman of Guleriya Chamber of Commerce Rajendra Prasad Kandel said dolphins would get proper protection provided that the task of protecting the endangered mammals was handed over to private sector. "This would also help bring in more tourists here," he added.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) revised the dophin's threatened status from Vulnerable to Endangered in 1996. nepalnews.com June 28 09