The first study in two decades has estimated that the numbers of the Ganges river dolphins in Nepal have increased to about 50 individuals. Hence, it proves to be an improvement over the two dozen sightings that were recorded in the 1990s, according to scidev.net.
Commonly known as susu, the Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is native to the Ganges river systems flowing through Nepal, India and Bangladesh. It is a solitary mammal and the only species of dolphin known to be blind. The endangered species has been on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 1996, with populations estimated at 3,550—3,000 in India and 500 in Bangladesh. However, the recent results show hope for the creatures.
Assistant professor of wildlife biology at Kathmandu Forestry College Shambhu Paudel led the study that recorded dolphin sightings during low-river flow before and after the monsoon season in three major tributaries of the Ganges — Karnali, Sapta Koshi and the Narayani.
Paudel and his team observed 28 dolphins pre-monsoon and 21 post-monsoon and used a statistical tool known as N-mixture model to extrapolate an actual population of between 37 and 42 dolphins. “I was able to sight dolphins in the Narayani for the first time in two decades,” Paudel tells SciDev.Net.