Global Coalition for River Dolphin Conservation

Collaborating to secure the long-term future of river dolphins and their rivers, and the communities who depend on them

A number of organisations, all of which have worked for many years to conserve river dolphins, and/or their rivers, have formed a coalition to help the sharing of knowledge and expertise, and to ensure synergies in our efforts to secure a viable future for river dolphins, their rivers, and the communities who depend on them.

Our purpose is to stop, by 2030, the decline of river dolphin populations in Asia and South America, and be on track to double the most threatened populations. With this global and coordinated alliance, we will help protect river dolphins and their habitats, while improving riverine community livelihoods, community participation, ecosystem services, climate resilience, and water quality, for the benefit of people and nature.

Our approach is to work together to:

  • address those threats to river dolphins and their rivers that are most immediate and severe:
    • Fisheries-related mortality and unsustainable fishing; bycatch is the number one cause of river dolphin mortality worldwide, which together with intentional killing of river dolphins for fish bait and meat, affects several thousand dolphins per year. River dolphin bycatch and unsustainable fishing occur during both legal and illegal fishing activities, and will need creativity if they are to be addressed, whilst ensuring viable livelihoods for riverine communities.
    • Man-made water infrastructure; hydropower dams, irrigation barrages and embankments all affect habitat connectivity, and the quantity and quality of water. In Asia, river dolphin habitat has decreased by 50-70%, and in South America by 10%. It is key for such infrastructure projects to be nature positive and river dolphin sensitive.
    • Water quality; mining, agriculture, and industrial activities can all degrade water quality. Deteriorating water quality due to agriculture runoff and industrial effluents is a serious threat to dolphins in Asia, while mercury poisoning due to gold mining has been found in dolphins in both Asia and South America.
    • low public awareness of river dolphins, including their critically endangered status.
  • support the range country governments to implement the Global River Dolphin Declaration signed on October 24th 2023 – World River Dolphin Day.
  • help secure funds to implement the Declaration pledges: national, bilateral, and multilateral funding.
  • share and build our knowledge and skills at every opportunity.

Our Coalition Agreement

You can find details of our Agreement and founder members here.

Join us!
The Coalition warmly welcomes new participants. If you are interested, please use the ‘Contact us’ link on this website. Together, we can bend the curve for  river dolphins!