Environment, Forestry and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin in a discussion yesterday said the number of dolphins in the Sundarbans had increased dramatically due to the government’s tireless and sincere efforts to save them, according to a press release.
In the three Sundarbans sanctuaries – Dhangmari, Dudhmukhi and Chandpai – the growth rate is 55%, which is a milestone for dolphin conservation in the country, he added addressing the discussion – organized at the Department of Forestry on the occasion of International Freshwater Dolphin Day-2022 – as the main guest.
As part of its efforts to save dolphins, the government has prepared a dolphin action plan and declared nine dolphin sanctuaries to conserve the country’s dolphins, the minister said, adding that seven dolphin conservation teams have been trained in the Sundarbans region and appropriate training has been imparted to relevant forestry personnel.
Minister Shahab Uddin said that with dolphins, the water ecology is better and the growth of fish species increases, therefore, dolphins must be protected to maintain the river and the aquatic biodiversity of the country.
The Minister for the Environment also told the event that the government was implementing the Wildlife (Conservation and Safety) Act 2012 which provides for a prison term of up to three years or a fine of up to up to Tk 3 lakh or both for killing whales or dolphins.
Additionally, a Marine Protected Area has been declared covering an area of 1,738 square kilometers of the Swatch of No Ground Zone in the Bay of Bengal for the conservation of dolphins, he added.
He said, however, that it is not possible for the government, the forest department or any other organization to save freshwater dolphins alone. “Therefore, I call on everyone to step up to protect our country’s dolphins and to work together.”
Deputy Minister of Ministry Habibun Nahar, Secretary Dr. Farhina Ahmed and Additional Secretary Iqbal Abdullah Harun, President of Nature and Life Foundation Mukit Majumdar Babu, IUCN Bangladesh Country Representative Rakibul Amin spoke as as special guests at the discussion meeting, held with , Chief Conservator of the Forestry Department Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury in the Presidency.