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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dolphin habitat in coastal rivers

Survey report reveals six species in the Sundarbans

A good number of marine mammal, dolphin, noted for its intelligent and sympathetic behaviour, still exist in Bangladesh rivers, especially near the coasts. However, there is hardly any initiative to save the graceful creature that sees gradual decline. Photo: STAR

A dolphin habitat has been located in the coastal rivers of the Sundarbans and swatch of no-ground areas of the Bay of Bengal.

At least six species of dolphin and a species of porpoise move around there safely as water and environment of rivers of the world's largest mangrove forest are suitable for dolphins.

This was revealed in the report of a survey jointly conducted by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project (BCDP).

Fifteen experts led by wildlife expert Brian D Smith of the US-based WCS carried out the survey.

Jahangir Alam, BCDP coordinator and researcher, told the news agency recently that they found 225 Gangetic river dolphins, 6,000 irrawady dolphins, over 1,000 bottlenose dolphins, about 1,400 finless porpoises, and significant number of Indo-Pacific hump-backed dolphins, Pan-tropical spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins in the Sundarbans and adjacent water bodies and swatch no-ground areas.

Besides, they found several Bryde's whales and a dead sperm whale during the observation, he said.

Jahangir said dolphins move around mostly in the rivers of Dhangmari, Chandpai, Andharmanik, Dudhmukhi, Betmore and Patakata of the Sundarbans East Zone under Khulna and Bagerhat districts.

Dolphins are also seen in the rivers of southern region, including Brahmaputra, Jamuna, Meghna, Karnaphuli and Sangu rivers.

Jahangir Alam further said the BCDP researchers wrote to the government to declare three areas of the Sundarbans as reserve zone for dolphins.

He said 12 km areas from Ghagmari check-post of Chandpai Range to Karamjal check-post through Dhangmari canal and Pasur river, 15 km from Jongra check-post to Andharmanik check-post through Mrigamari check-post and five km from Dudhkhali check-post to Supati canal through Bemara canal were proposed for declaring those safe havens for dolphin.

DFO Mihir Kumar Da of Sundarbans East Range said the expert report along with their proposal was sent to the higher authorities concerned.

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