The Ganges River dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica) (GRD) is classified as one of the most endangered of all cetaceans in the world and the second scarcest freshwater cetacean. The population is estimated to be less than 2,000 individuals. In Nepal’s Narayani, Sapta Koshi, and Karnali river systems, survival of GRD continues to be threatened by various anthropogenic activities, such as dam construction and interactions with artisanal fisheries.

Ganges river dolphin abundance has undergone a predominant decline across its range since monitoring began. In Nepal, disappearance from some of the rivers it once used has already occurred. Today this species can only be found in three river systems in Nepal, the Karnali, Sapta Koshi, and Narayani, but numbers are low in these locations. To determine the abundance of dolphins remaining in the Karnali system (which includes the Karnali, Geruwa, and Mohana), and factors affecting dolphin habitat use, we conducted surveys where we recorded dolphin presence.