Conservation actions of the river dolphins must be evaluated through preliminary research. The important research done was to determine the conditions under which dolphins reacted to boats and also revealing attitudes of local residents to the future program of conservation of Irrawaddy Dolphins
Impact of boat traffic has been studied on other species of dolphins resulting significant change of behaviour.
In freshwater Mahakam dolphins case:: especially in the confluent area where the dolphins were majorly sighted, dolphins had interuption from boat (speed boat and tugboat). Dolphins could not evade sound and physical presence of boats. This result into Frequent interruption of dolphin feeding, resting, or socializing through active boat avoidance, disrupted echolocation signals for safe navigation and active hunting, and masking of acoustic cues to hunt passively and to locate group members for maintaining social cohesion and coordination.
Local residents played an important role in the future of conservations. These people also utilize the rivers for daily transportation and also other activities such as fishing. The majority of the residents felt that the dolphins must be protected and also agreed that protected areas must be established.
The conservation of these mammals are still in progress since 2000 include an annual conservation/awareness campaign aimed at different sectors of society, annual monitoring of the dolphin population, socioeconomic surveys related to fisheries, attitude assessment surveys with local communities, demarcation of an important dolphin site by placing a large billboard in Muara Pahu, and establishment of patrols in several villages
efforts are made to reduce mortality, halt habitat deterioration and protect the dolphins’ food supply, survival and even recovery of this, Indonesia’s only freshwater population of dolphins, could be feasible
Positive support from the local people should be maintained and encouraged.
Baird (2001) observed that conservation of the dolphin habitat in Mekong benefited the fish population and the fishermen livelihood.
The pesut fits the definition of a flagship species both internationally and locally; it has charisma and thus may effectively facilitate protection of other species and of the ecosystem with which it is associated.