B’Desh Urged To Protect River Dolphins

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

DHAKA: Bangladesh will declare three river areas in its southwest as dolphin
sanctuaries, wildlife officials said today, in a bid to protect the country’s
population of endangered freshwater cetaceans.

The forestry department
took the decision after studies found three areas in the UNESCO-listed
Sundarbans mangrove forest, which straddles Bangladesh and India, were home to
large populations of Irrawaddy and Ganges river dolphins.

“We have
decided to declare river channels at Dhangmari, Chandpai and Dudhmukhi areas in
the eastern Sundarbans as dolphin sanctuaries,” Tapan Kumar Dey, senior wildlife
conservation official at the forest department, said.

“The channels and
adjoining areas are home to hundreds of endangered Irrawady and Ganges river
dolphins. Fishermen will be banned from fishing in the areas,” he told
AFP.

Tens of thousands of fishermen catch fish and shrimp in the
channels. Although dolphins are not targeted directly, they often become
entangled in the fishing nets and die by the dozen every year. A series of
studies since 2002 by the Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project identified the
three areas in the Sunderbans’ river channels which are dolphin
hotspots.

An earlier BCDP study found the world’s largest population of
Irrawaddy dolphins — an estimated 6,000 — living along Bangladesh’s southern
coast, including in the Sundarbans.

In other areas where the flat-faced
dolphins are known to converge populations have been estimated at less than

  • Photo: Ganges River Dolphin
File:Schnabeldelphin-drawing.jpg
Size of this preview: 800 × 478 pixels. Other resolutions: 320 × 191 pixels | 640 × 382 pixels | 1,024 × 612 pixels.

100.

http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=B%27desh+bid+to+protect+dolphins&NewsID=307535

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~ by narhvalur on November 15, 2011.

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