Ecological trap for Ganges River Dolphin

Ecological trap for Ganges River Dolphin

Nachiket Kelkar

The Karnali River in Nepal is home to the endangered Ganges River Dolphin. After a major flood in 2010 caused abrupt changes in the river channel, dolphins were forced to move into a river channel with intensive fishing and diversion of water for irrigation. This new habitat has become an ‘ecological trap’ for the dolphins, finds a new paper published in Biological Conservation journal by ATREE’s Nachiket Kelkar with researchers from Nepal.

This paper resulted from surveys conducted over 2009-2015 and the collaboration of river dolphin researchers and ecologists in Nepal and India, and Nepalese university faculty and government officials.

The paper has important recommendations for managing Nepal’s rivers: maintaining ecologically adequate flow, implementing efficient irrigation schemes, managing water demands across sectors, and adapting fisheries regulations to changes in the river flow.

The paper is available at