River dolphins and ecosystem services: integrated conservation in the Brahmaputra
ZSL - EDGE: Zoological Society of London EDGE programme
Host Country Institutions:
The Ganges River dolphin (Platanista gangetica; CMS Appendix 1) occurs in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli river systems, with a surviving population of ?2500 individuals. The Brahmaputra river system was until recently one of the last refuges containing relatively healthy dolphin populations, but research by the Assamese NGO Aaranyak indicates that this population is now highly threatened and experiencing severe decline, with <300 surviving individuals. There is therefore an urgent need to develop a long-term integrated conservation programme for the Brahmaputra dolphin population involving new research, applied conservation action, capacity building and environmental education. The new quantitative evidence-base and conservation skill set that will be developed for understanding dolphin decline and supporting population recovery and wider-scale ecosystem regeneration will then be transferrable across the species’ range.
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