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Conservation Assured | River Dolphin Standards (CA|RDS)

The Conservation Assured | River Dolphin Standards (CA|RDS) is an adaptation of the Conservation Assured Framework for river dolphin conservation and management. The vision of CA|RDS is to establish a well-managed global network of freshwater protected and conserved areas that can serve as safe havens for river dolphins as a vital part of comprehensive conservation strategies.

The goal of CA|RDS is to demonstrate, guide, promote, and incentivize good site-based management practices to establish a network of well-managed freshwater protected and conserved areas for river dolphins. To achieve this goal, CA|RDS has three main objectives. First, it aims to develop and maintain credible and scientifically sound standards and criteria that are relevant to conservation management and applicable in the field. These standards should also be linked to other conservation standards, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Green List Initiative.

Second, CA|RDS aims to implement assessments in freshwater protected and conserved areas that support river dolphins. It also aims to develop programs that can mobilize support and build capacity for site managers to meet the CA|RDS criteria.

Third, CA|RDS seeks to increase recognition of the conservation needs of river dolphins. The scope of CA|RDS covers sites with a defined border that includes river dolphin habitat and adjacent terrestrial areas critical to river dolphins. These sites are mostly protected areas, where conservation is a primary management objective, or other effective area-based conservation measures.

CA|RDS can also be applied to defined sites with other forms of conservation controls, such as bylaws protecting river dolphins. Although it is a site-based system, river dolphin sites are sometimes connected or connected by corridors. In these cases, it makes sense for CA|RDS to be implemented at a basin or population level across multiple sites.

CA|RDS recognizes that effective dolphin conservation management at the site level often depends on external factors beyond the control of the site management team. Therefore, CA|RDS includes standards and criteria around river basin management planning and coordination. Although it is difficult to manage the impacts of activities beyond the site, CA|RDS encourages understanding of these impacts and mitigation actions where possible.

Endangered River Dolphin Species’ Numbers On the Rise | National Geographic