Best practices

Explore this section to learn about ways in which river dolphins are being studied and protected around the world.

Faced by a barrage of threats, river dolphins will only survive if we can effectively share and leverage best practices for their conservation from every river system in which they live. This section provides an overview of conservation and management ‘best practices’ from around the world which have proven successful or show good potential to result in positive outcomes for river management and river dolphin conservation.

There is of course no ‘one size fits all ’ solution. Each river and each river dolphin species and population is unique, and each country and region has a different baseline situation from which to progress towards the successful conservation and management of river dolphins. But this information on ‘best practices’ provides critical information to help stakeholders develop tailored and effective recommendations and plans for each specific river dolphin population.

The best practices described here were compiled through an extensive literature review as well as interviews with, and inputs from, scientists and conservation organisations working in every river basin that hosts freshwater dolphin populations. For more information about the organisations contributing to this review please see the ‘About’ section of this website. To explore the full range of resources available via this site to support river dolphin conservation, please see the ‘Resources’ section of this website.

While exploring these best practices, it is important to bear in mind that, while the implementation of carefully designed, targeted conservation and management practices are imperative for the positive future of river dolphins, it is also a fundamental requirement that those practices are underpinned by preserving and/or restoring the quality of the wider river environment – the habitat in which the river dolphins live.  As mitigation of the impacts of major water infrastructure projects on the overall health and integrity of river basins is nearly impossible, it is critical to the conservation of all river dolphin species and populations that large scale development projects should be avoided on river dolphin rivers.

The best practices are presented under four main themes which can be accessed through the links below.

Explore this section

Community engagement

Empowering communities to operate sustainably benefits those communities whilst reducing pressure on the river dolphins and their habitat. Learn more about some of the approaches that have been implemented.

Addressing threats

The most effective way to protect river dolphins is to remove threats that can directly or indirectly cause reduced fitness or deaths. Learn more about threats to river dolphins, and the strategies that have been used to address those threats.

Conservation planning

Conservation planning is vital to the protection of river dolphins. Learn more about effective approaches that can be leveraged.

Research and monitoring

Although research and monitoring on its own cannot protect river dolphins, it is an essential component of designing effective conservation strategies. Learn more about research and monitoring approaches that can help improve the species’ chances of survival.