4 Feb 2019 - The Bangladesh Forest Department has started forming dolphin conservation teams involving community people to protect the endangered aquatic species in the rivers of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.
“We’ve already formed three dolphin conservation teams in the Sundarbans and will constitute more such groups to protect dolphins,” Md Modinul Ahsan, Divisional Forest Officer and National Project Director told BSS.
Noting that the conservation teams are working voluntarily to create awareness among the community people so that they come forward to save dolphins in the Sundarbans, he said the team members have already received training to this effect.
Modinul said when dolphins are caught in the nets of fishermen in the Sundarbans’ rivers, the conservation teams immediately inform the forest officials about the incidents and thus dolphins are rescued and released to nature.
The Sundarbans is a home to the Asia’s last two remaining freshwater dolphin species – the endangered Ganges River Dolphin and Irrawaddy Dolphin.
To protect the Sundarbans dolphins, the conservation teams are being formed under ‘the Expanding the Protected Area System to Incorporate Aquatic Systems Project’.
With financial support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Forest Department in collaboration with IUCN Bangladesh is implementing the project.
IUCN Programme Coordinator ABM Sarwar Alam said three dolphin conservation teams have already been formed in the Sundarbans and such four teams will be floated soon to monitor and check fishing in the dolphin protected areas of the mangrove forest.